Amnesty International is a global movement of over 7 million people in more than 150 countries working together to protect and promote human rights. For over 50 years, the organization has provided the world with reliable and accurate information about human rights violations and international human rights laws and standards.
The Canadian national office for Amnesty International, located in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, is responsible for spearheading fundraising across the country. The nonprofit organization’s marketing team is responsible for all fundraising campaigns and engages its supporters on many fronts. From signing a petition, to becoming a youth activist, to becoming a monthly donor, Canadians are provided with a myriad of ways to get involved with Amnesty International and make a difference in the world.
Like many industries, the nonprofit landscape is changing and organizations must adapt in order to survive. One key area of change comes through the use of technology and big data to engage, retain and understand donor populations. The use of exciting new tech, such as video-based campaigns is allowing nonprofits to become more proactive, rather than reactive, to opportunistic fundraising campaigns. At the same time, donor retention remains a key area of focus for the nonprofit community. A 2017 report on Fundraising Effectiveness highlighted that for the last decade donor and gift or dollar retention rates have consistently been weak—averaging below 50 percent across the industry.
At Amnesty International Canada, much focus is given to the organization’s 37,000 monthly donors. They are a highly committed, active and engaged population, and therefore, an extremely valuable fundraising asset.
Typically in the past, monthly donors have been engaged through mail and e-newsletters and telemarketing campaigns. But with the industry changing, it was time to use technology in a creative way to construct a campaign that would stand out and truly engage donors.
Erin Jones, Amnesty International Canada’s Monthly Giving Retention Coordinator, was inspired by the success of a video-based campaign run by her counterparts in Australia a couple of years ago and brought the idea of a video-based thank you campaign to her Director of Fundraising. “We knew it had to be more than just another video, however,” explains Erin. “We see those all the time on social media. This had to be something that would grab a person’s attention. So we believed personalization was really key.”
And so, Erin took to Google to see what resources she could find to realize her vision. “I knew we needed a platform that would allow us to produce a video-based campaign.”
A search quickly pulled up Vidyard and its impressive client portfolio, including a YMCA personalized video campaign. “After talking with the Vidyard team, I could tell they knew what they were doing and would be super responsive to our needs,” says Erin.
Erin also knew she needed some help to build a video people would want to engage with and watch. So she once again took to Google and found Lokko Motion Media, an Ottawa based video marketing agency with extensive experience in building personalized videos. Lokko Motion also just happened to be a Vidyard partner. “We’ve been a Vidyard implementation partner since they first released the personalization capability in their platform,” says Brendan McCrann, co-founder, and head of business development for Lokko Motion. “People often jump into personalized video not knowing what works and what doesn’t. We have done the campaigns and earned our battle scars to know how to do it right. When Erin called and mentioned she was working with Vidyard, I knew the stars were all aligned.”
Working with Vidyard, Lokko Motion developed a 2017 year-end ‘thank you’ campaign that would allow Amnesty International Canada to convey its appreciation to its monthly donors in a highly personalized way. Using engaging video, the campaign reached out to 25,000 donors to highlight recent Amnesty International successes and express appreciation for continued donor support. Each video is also personalized to speak directly to the donor, referring to the year they began giving and using the person’s name throughout the story to drive home a connection between the individual’s monthly donations and the changes those funds bring.
Amnesty International Canada’s Fundraising Campaign video personalized with the name ‘Jesse.’
Thanks to the team’s creative execution and the Vidyard platform, the campaign achieved incredible results. It realized an 83.1 percent click-through rate with more than 75 percent of those who viewed the video watching it all the way to the end. 8 percent of donors who viewed the video also shared it with others using a unique campaign URL.
Outside of the exceptional response rates received, some donors went out of their way to express their enthusiasm to Amnesty International’s campaign team. “Hey, thanks so much! This video was perfectly done and tremendously motivating.Someone deserves a great deal of credit for conceiving the idea and bringing it to fruition! Obviously, my support will continue, with the video as a real motivator!”
Erin’s convinced she’ll use personalized video again. “All of the feedback received validates that video made our donors feel glad to be a part of our work, that it’s a great reminder of how they’re helping and that they feel proud to be a part of it. From our perspective, it is allowing us to get further engagement with donors in a space that is becoming increasingly busy. With lots of emails, great videos like the one Lokko Motion was able to create for us can make all the difference. When donors stay and watch and know the difference they are making…well, this ultimately keeps them with our organization.”
Brendan from Lokko Motion has his own thoughts on the reasons personalized video drove such success for Amnesty International’s campaign. “I believe personalized video is allowing content to reach its full potential. There are lots of organizations out there spending money on content, but not really getting their full return on investment (ROI). This adds a whole other level of horsepower to a campaign.”
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