Best Friends Animal Society is a national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in American shelters from 17 million per year to an estimated 4 million. Best Friends Animal Society was able to create a Facebook marketing campaign and raise $13,000 during their test period.
Measure: The first step was to fine tune the organization’s measurement processes and become vigilant about tracking. Everyone involved with donations, the website and SEO (search engine optimization) were able to get on the same page by using tagged links to improve tracking and Facebook pixels to measure results from organic posts and ads.
Donate Button: The Best Friends team utilized the Donate button as soon as it became available and made routine donation testing a campaign requirement. They tested where to send readers, as well as content, frequency, imagery and targeting.
Positive Messaging: While a sense of urgency and need can be effective in fundraising, it was important to Best Friends that they stay true to their brand and maintain an overall positive message.
Experimentation and Flexibility: The team set up a framework to test the new Facebook Donate button for a month, controlling some measures (day of posting, success metrics, value of the donation ask, and ad spend) and adjusting others (creative, post tactics, and ad targets) for testing. They used learnings from this initial test run to adjust their strategy over the months that followed.
Best Friends tested and ultimately relied upon posts that were relatable, personal, and most importantly, told a compelling story. Instead of speaking in broad terms about the need for animals or donation values, a post would focus on a specific animal and how a donation could make a difference in that animal’s life and others like him or her. At the same time, the organization made posts engaging and the call-to-action consistent and clear. They also made responding to users a top priority. In terms of imagery, they found that unique and emotional photos of the featured animals that told a story, returned the highest number of donations.
- Test early, test often.
- Track your results.
- Be flexible.
- Be personal and relatable.
- Supplement your reach with advertising.
- Experiment with targeting.
- Consider a smaller donation ask.