Category Archives: Digital Case Studies

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Greater Boston Food Bank – #GivingTuesday 2015

The Greater Boston Food Bank #GivingTuesday campaign raises $85,750 at a 10:1 ROI

BOSTON-GT2015 case study

The challenge

In 2014, The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) looked to Russ Reid to help them strategize and deploy their first #GivingTuesday campaign resulting in more than $50,750 raised (not including a $20,000 match and starting with a $15,000 goal). Building on the extraordinary success of 2014, GBFB and Russ Reid together again collaborated for a refreshed #GivingTuesday campaign in 2015. Second year campaign goals included:

  • Fundraise the full match amount of $25,000 for a $50,000 total campaign goal
  • Leverage an integrated digital approach to acquire donor interest and revenue
  • Deploy social media as a key channel for campaign engagement ultimately influencing giving

Russ Reid solution

Learning from 2014 #GivingTuesday campaign efforts, a 2015 campaign was deployed on the popular holiday shopping weekend from Black Friday through Cyber Monday and culminating on #GivingTuesday. Russ Reid’s now proven #GivingTuesday multi-channel digital campaign strategy aimed to maximize GBFB’s holiday fundraising, acquiring significant return early and boosting the Food Bank’s ability to fundraise all December long. In 2015, Russ Reid also expanded social advertising to include Facebook custom audience targeting.

Russ Reid delivered:

  • Consultation and strategic guidance including offer development and social media content planning
  • Social advertising for content amplification and Page growth (Facebook placement; Facebook custom audience targeting using GBFB donor lists and lookalike modeling)
  • Custom three e-appeal series including all email components
  • Web images for promotional use in social media, and integration with homepage and giving page to create a complete user experience
  • Unique offer positioning


With a matching gift of $25,000, in 2015 the low cost, five-day #GivingTuesday campaign exceeded 2014’s $70,750 extraordinary fundraising total raising $85,770 to provide healthy and nutritious meals for 257,310 hungry people in eastern Massachusetts. The YoY increase was a matching gift $5,000 greater than the previous year + $10,000 more raised. GBFB’s total online revenue in the five-day campaign period was nearly $105,000[1]. Having achieved an ROI of 8.4 in 2014, 2015’s campaign ROI was 10.1.

The $25,000 matching gift was again uniquely positioned to ask donors to match the generous donation of 75,000 meals to provide an additional 75,000 meals for hungry families. Donors directly responded to campaign efforts with more than $60,770 in online donations to provide an additional 182,310 meals above and beyond the match gift.

Social media successfully and effectively achieved goals of growing brand presence and campaign awareness, driving interest in the campaign and traffic to the donation page. Social media achievements include:

  • 1,078 new Facebook page likes
  • 1,782 paid post engagements
  • 5,925 people taking action directly from paid posts
  • More than 34,430 people reached with paid ads
  • 3,181 visits to the donation page driven directly from paid ads
  • Custom audience targeting reached 11,500 users, acquired 55 post engagements, and drove 195 visits to the donation page

Campaign e-appeals raised more than $44,000 of the campaign total with email 3 responsible for 58% of email revenue.

Ahead of the 2015 campaign, Russ Reid recognized GBFB with a 2014 Outstanding Partnership Award for their success in expanding online fundraising—particularly through social media engagement, and continuing to innovate amongst food banks and nonprofits in the digital fundraising space.

[1] #GivingTuesday attributed revenue was sourced from email, social media and the match gift.

For additional information on this campaign or how Russ Reid can help your nonprofit grow beyond, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

Los Angeles Mission logo

Los Angeles Mission – Social media engagement

Los Angeles Mission social media achieves an all time, ever captured and reported, performance high during Thanksgiving 2015—a 422% increase YoY

The challenge

As part of Russ Reid’s ongoing strategic social media work with Los Angeles Mission that aims to continually create a distinct social brand and clearly demonstrate the Mission’s values online, we look to each of the Mission’s four annual events as opportunities to, in real-time, showcase the life-transforming work of the Mission through the power of social media. Our social media performance during these annual events is indicative of how strong or weak our daily social media strategy is. Los Angeles Mission’s highly anticipated event of the year is the #SkidRowThanksgiving street event and meal held annually the day before Thanksgiving.

#SkidRowThanksgiving 2014 social media achievements include:

  • 3,643 total social media engagements[1]
  • 1,604 engagements on 36 Facebook posts by the Mission
  • 91 mentions, RT’s and likes on 39 tweets by @theLAmission
  • 1,948 engagements on 33 Instagrams by @theLAmission

[1] Total social media engagements directly on Los Angeles Mission posts on November 26, 2014 (does not include engagements with retweeted or shared posts, does not include engagements on mentions)

Russ Reid solution

Building from successful social media strategy based on seasonal reporting and key learnings from the seven most recent Mission street events, Russ Reid deployed an event strategy for Los Angeles Mission’s #SkidRowThanksgiving meal leveraging the ‘day of’ event experience online. The strategy has two key objectives:

  1. Position the Mission as the event host revealing preparations and behind the scenes looks into all and who that is involved: Hourly posts with event hashtag;
  2. Tell the story of the event through the experience of event guests, friends and neighbors of the Mission’s on Skid Row.

Key to the strategy is a well-rounded view of the event in posts (street, kitchen, event stations, at the tables, etc.) with a particular focus on sharing first-person accounts and testimonials from personally interacting with guests. Russ Reid to act as sole social media producer and publisher.


The one day street event #SkidRowThanksgiving 2015 achieved 10,784 total social media engagements gained by Los Angeles Mission posts alone—a 422% increase from the 2014 Thanksgiving event making it the most successful social media event for the Mission to date. LAM - SM - case study

  • 6,384 engagements on 36 Facebook posts by the Mission—notably a 398% increase in engagement on the same number of posts as 2014
  • 1,016 mentions, RT’s and likes on 69 tweets by @theLAmission—an average of 14.72 engagements per tweet (compared to 2014’s 2.33 engagements per tweet)
  • 3,384 engagements on 51 Instagrams by @theLAmission—an average of 66.35 engagements per post (compared to 2014’s 59 engagements per post)

The immense contribution of #SkidRowThanksgiving 2015’s social media numbers—and with the month’s already great performance—resulted in November as an all time, ever captured and reported high in social media of the following: Performance and exposure on Facebook by impressions and reach, highest ever new Page Likes and Twitter followers gained in a single month, as well as engagement highs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

These results are credited to: 1) An improved event strategy YoY as learnings have been gained about the right messages and posts for the audience, and 2) Investment in a strategic and focused social media effort all year round that aims to acquire, engage and truly understand its audience with the ultimate objective to deliver messages that are appealing, attractive, and actionable.

To build on this success, Russ Reid is considering expansion opportunities for Los Angeles Mission’s social media event coverage including pre-event celebrity engagement. As well, this event and others in 2015 will be evaluated with Russ Reid’s 2016 proposed strategic direction for the Mission.

To learn how Russ Reid can help your Food Bank grow beyond, please contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

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Philabundance – Monthly donor pop-up

Monthly donor pop-up expects to receive $135,000 in revenue over next five years

The challenge

Philabundance was determined to grow their monthly donor program. Strategically focused on increasing the number of supporters, they came to us for a recommendation. We developed the monthly donor pop‐up as their first foray.

Russ Reid solution

To help ensure the success of the pop‐up, the following methodology was key:

  1. Reach the donor at the optimal time
  2. Make it easy to convert from a one‐time giver to monthly giver
  3. Reinforce the additional impact that becoming a monthly donor can make
  4. Utilize an appropriate donation ask

Philabundance case study

Who is the perfect monthly donor candidate? In this case, a web user that has just clicked “Submit” to give a gift. By setting the pop‐up to appear immediately following a one‐time gift submission, we were able to speak to the donor at just the right time. How easy did we make it for the donor? A single‐click could change their support from a one‐time gift to recurring monthly.

The question “Want to make a bigger impact?” followed by the highlighted impact statement “$25 will provide 50 meals every month”, clearly communicated the opportunity to the donor to make their gift go further and be recognized member of the monthly giving program.

In order to further encourage monthly gift conversions, we developed an algorithm that automatically customized the monthly gift ask to correspond with the donor’s original gift amount. For example, a donor who submitted a $20.00 one‐time gift received a $10.00 suggested monthly gift ask, while a donor who submitted a gift between $50.01 ‐ $100.00 received a $25.00 suggested monthly gift ask through the pop‐up.


To put it simply, the pop‐up worked. It accomplished Philabundance’s goal and increased the number of monthly giving program supporters with very strong results. During the three months that it ran on the donation page (November 2013, December 2013, and January 2014), the pop‐ up resulted in:

  • 84 new monthly reoccurring donations
  • $27,000 from just 1 year of monthly giving revenue
  • 92% increase in monthly sustainers YOY
  • Nearly 6:1 ROI

The pop‐up’s successful impact on Philabundance’s monthly donor program will contribute to a significant increase in annual revenue year over year. With 84 new monthly donors now under their belt, Philabundance is expected to receive $135,000 in revenue from just those donors over the next five years.

To learn how Russ Reid can help your Food Bank grow beyond, please contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

View a downloadable PDF of this case study.

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Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano – Fall SEM & Display Campaign

SEM and online display campaign acquires $345 average gift size

The challenge

The Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano (FBCCS) sought to expand their online marketing efforts beyond brand‐focused display advertising and social media campaigns. They were looking to significantly increase online revenue while minimizing financial risk.

Russ Reid solution

Russ Reid recommended, designed and executed an integrated digital campaign during the November through December 2014 time period, focused on acquiring new, high‐value donors and maximizing revenue from current and lapsed donors.

The solution consisted of Search Engine Marketing placed on Google and Bing/Yahoo, brand‐ integrated online display (banner) ads, a banner ad retargeting campaign, and a small Facebook ad campaign.


During the months of November and December of 2014, FBCCS’ SEM/Display campaign raised over $95,000, at an 8:1 ROI, and brought new donors onto their file at a staggering $345 average gift! 

To learn how Russ Reid can help your Food Bank grow beyond, please contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President).

View a downloadable PDF of this case study.

RR Logo

Growing online revenue

Growing online revenue in significant ways for locally-based nonprofits

The challenge

Russ Reid partners with 150 Rescue Missions and Food Banks across the United States and Canada. These locally-based nonprofit organizations need a digital strategy to drive rapid, scalable revenue and recruitment growth. For maximum efficiency, they require a nationally managed strategy; for maximum effectiveness, they need an agency partner who can execute that strategy in a customized way for each local context.

Russ Reid solution

Russ Reid delivered a comprehensive digital strategy featuring an e-commerce website redesign, paid search and display advertising, and integrated fundraising campaigns including direct mail, email and social media components. Key features of the solution included:

• Websites designed based on nonprofit and general e-commerce best practices

  • Donor-friendly information architecture
  • Streamlined, easy-to-use e-commerce solution
  • A content management system allowing flexibility to complete updates in-house
  • Simple and effective site analytics tools to measure success

• Digital marketing plan

  • SEO
  • SEM/Display advertising
  • Paid search to drive qualified traffic and conversion
  • Display to fuel search and site traffic while increasing awareness

• Integrated campaigns

  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • Social media touts


Our digital strategy achieved dramatic revenue growth in every market that deployed our comprehensive digital solution. Four examples of success are as follows:

1. Phoenix Rescue Mission, Phoenix, AZ

• The number of daily website visitors doubled

• Page views per visit increased 137%

• Time spent onsite increased 74%

• Site conversion rate increased 10% year-over-year

• Online giving increased an average of 20% since launch

• Donor email list grew 34% in 6 months

Email revenue during the holiday season was 4 times higher than previous years

2. Union Gospel Mission, Dallas, TX

• Site traffic has increased 50% since launch

• Paid search is converting 1.5 times higher than organic, and driving more than double the revenue

• Site conversion rate has increased by 50%

• Year-over-year online giving is up by over 100%

• Transactions are up 64%

3. United Food Banks, Mesa, AZ

• Year-over-year site visits were 7 times higher during peak giving month of December

Online revenue doubled

• Transactions increased 59%

• Average give value spiked to $141

4. Union Mission Ministries, Norfolk, VA

• Online giving increased 108% post-launch

• Mission has seen more volunteer inquiries than ever

• Email revenue has doubled post-launch

Examples of new banner creative

Banner 1 Banner 2



Examples of new website design

Web 1 web 2 web 3 web 4


Examples of email creative

email 1 email 3


To view a downloadable PDF of this case study, click here.


Phoenix Rescue Mission – Digital Marketing Campaign

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Phoenix Rescue Mission: Digital marketing campaign increases holiday giving revenue by 63%

The challenge

Phoenix Rescue Mission had a common problem: the organization’s website just wasn’t working hard enough to drive engagement and donations. To meet its goals, they needed an uncommon solution: an effective, inexpensive, brand-aligned website that would maximize online giving while integrating seamlessly with their overall marketing strategy.

Russ Reid solution

Russ Reid worked with Phoenix Rescue Mission to launch a new site in less than 4 months. The overarching goal was that users coming to the site to learn, engage or give would promptly find easy-to-use, compelling options, ensuring an excellent experience for them, and a strong return on investment for Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Along with the site redesign, Russ Reid deployed a paid search and display marketing campaign to drive traffic to the site. Social media tools, news updates and a blog were established to help the Mission engage the com­munity in their cause, and of course to drive more traffic.

A content management system was set up that allowed Phoenix Rescue Mission the flexibility to update and adjust content without involving a third party. Additionally, by connecting the site to Google Analytics, metrics and reporting would be readily available in real time.


  • December online year-over-year holiday giving increased by 63%
  • Year-over-year online donations increased 67% in the month of December
  • Average gift was $185

To view a downloadable PDF of this case study, click here.