Rebalancing Upper-Funnel and Direct Investments For A Charity

  • May 1, 2024
  • Case Studies
  • No Comments


In the competitive landscape of nonprofit organizations, effective marketing is crucial for raising awareness, attracting donors, and driving support for charitable causes. 

A large US charity dedicated to raise funds to support R&D in the medical field, was looking to understand their drivers of donations and in particular the effectiveness of their marketing activities. 

They had traditionally relied heavily of special events and direct response media but had recently done a brand test to assess the impact on donations.

They wanted to understand the difference in effectiveness of allocating spend to Brand related advertising vs short-term activation and how to balance both to attract both new and nurture existing donors.



Data was gathered at a daily and weekly level from multiple sources, including donor databases, special events/fundraisers, website traffic and engagement, social media metrics, email marketing and off/online media spend across tactics. External factors were also accounted for such as macroeconomic factors, competitive activity, seasonality and brand equity metrics. Donors were split between existing and new donors to be able to understand the difference in strategy needed to drive each group.


Leveraging our proprietary Dynamic Marketing Mix Modeling approach, we built a complete picture of the charity’s marketing effectiveness based on all their key drivers of donations and all key marketing channels, in the short- and long-term.

To estimate this complex web of interactions it was necessary to estimate several models of intermediate and ultimate effects using systems modeling approaches.

Our unique approach to handling the short- and long-term effect of marketing enabled the client to understand how marketing was driving donations in the short-term as well as long-term brand equity via customer perceptions metrics.

Optimization & Recommendations

The outputs from the models were fed into the Marketscience SimOpt.Studio optimization tool in order to provide budget recommendations permitting the balancing of investments between longer-term, brand marketing investment and short-term activation programs. 

Some of the recommendations included:

  • Rebalance short-term direct marketing activities vs. long-term brand-building campaigns:  
  • Reallocate some investment towards Brand campaigns to drive long-term growth with messages focusing on communicating clearly and powerfully the mission of the charity and the impact that donations would have on people’s lives. 
  • TV or a video-neutral strategy of TV + Online Video would drive the highest reach and ROI and hasn’t reached saturation
  • Identify the most effective lower-funnel tactics and platforms for driving short-term returns and focus on campaigns anchored around unique messages or events 
  • Email marketing should still remain a key marketing tool but recommendation provided on appropriate levels of spend to avoid reaching saturation 
  • Some digital tactics such Display and Search offer high returns on initial dollars invested but need to well targeted and executed so as not to reach saturation too quickly
  • Focus on nurturing corporate partners relationships as this was evaluated as an important revenue channel
  • Events provide an amplifying platform for marketing dollars and need to be an integral part of the marketing strategy.


The year after implementing our recommendations the charity saw:

  • An increase in branded search by 30%
  • Donations grew by 14%
  • ROI from marketing activities grew by 20%

What We Did

Subscribe to the Series

Share Now:
Posted in:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top