rocketship2Does your nonprofit use Google Adwords to raise donations? Whether a text or banner ad, the creative probably asks for a donation and sends potential supporters directly to a donate form right? Based on my experience this is the wrong approach. Below I explain the technique I recently used for year-end fundraising campaigns to achieve much better results.

The problem with asking for a donation right away is that most people clicking your ad barely know your organization. In the dating world it’s the equivalent of coming on too strong. We instead divided the ads into two phases. In phase one, the sole purpose of the ads was to drive large amounts of targeted traffic to a related landing page that was educational in nature. The page did not ask for a donation outright (though there was donate button just in case).

For example, for a client which protects Redwoods we created ads that direct people concerned about climate change to a landing page that explains how the giant trees help reduce carbon dioxide levels.

Ads in phase two resembled the more traditional type by asking people to donate to save the Redwoods and directing them to a donation form. These were remarketing ads targeting people who had been to the landing pages in phase one thanks to remarketing code we placed on the page.

By properly educating people about the issue first we were in a better position to make our case. You can see from the results below. Despite the fact that phase one had nearly three times as many clicks, phase two had 14 times the number of donations!

Some of you might be thinking that the comparison isn’t fair since phase two specifically asked people to make a donation and sent them to a donate page. But look at the results from last year where we deployed the traditional technique asking for a donation up front. Twice as many conversions were recorded in 2015.

On your next campaign remember to step back and cultivate your supporters first. As they always say – slow and steady wins the race.