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The Goal: Raise $50,000 via targeted email campaign, online donation form, and a short video. (Campaign has raised $76,625 to date.)

Our Pitch / Idea: Mark Wood on our team listened closely to the needs of the Brooklyn Autism Center, and devised a personalized email campaign and donation system that would help them raise funds for needy children. Using a decade of knowledge in the email and direct marketing industry, Mark made sure that strong, compelling calls to action would motivate people to donate generously.

Brooklyn Autism Center Academy Background: The Brooklyn Autism Center is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) school serving children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Brooklyn, New York. Established in 2007, their philosophy is grounded in a data-based scientific study, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is the educational standard and best practice for children with autism.

How the Campaign Worked:

Step 1: Email Campaign The first step was to reach out to 2,455 friends, family and past donors with a personalized email campaign. The campaign was signed to use calming visual line art, engaging photos and a strong call to action (Donate Now). Non-profit fundraiser campaign - HTML email campaign

The email set up the problem: Ten years ago, 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism. Today, 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with autism.

The system sent out a unique, personalized email message to each recipient. Each message was tracked to see who opened it (and how many times) and who clicked on a link (and which link and how often).

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Message Open Statistics: non-profit fundraiser - Message Open Statistics


64% of the people opened the message; a normal message open rate is about 17%, indicating that the message was relevant and well received.

Clickthrough Tracking Statistics: non-profit fundraiser case study - Message Links Clicked Statistics


Nearly 17% of the recipients clicked through to the landing page. To put this into perspective, a typical clickthrough rate ranges between 0.5% and 1.5% for many email campaigns.

Message Forward Statistics: non-profit fundraising case study


Even more impressive was the number of people that forwarded the message along to friends. While we don’t track who the message was sent to, we’re able to track that a message sent to one person was opened on multiple different computers.

Message Opens By Date: non-profit case study for email donations

Most email campaigns are opened within a day or two of the initial sending, and the reporting demonstrated that most of the messages were opened the first and second day.

Secondary Calls to Action: The email also had secondary links for participants to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook was much more successful: facebook marketing - non-profit fundraiser case study

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Step 2: Landing Page

Once a person clicked through from the email campaign, they landed on a personalized page


(Welcome, $first $last) that displayed a video, how much money had been raised to date, and a link to donate now:


The video was designed to create an emotional connection to the students, and the “Donated To Date” system displayed the total amount of donations to create a sense of excitement. When someone clicked on the “Donate Now” Button, we used a Web 2.0 feature to instantly display the donation form (instead of waiting 8-12 seconds for another page to load).


Personalized Landing Page - non-profit foundation fundraiser

Step 3: Donation Page

The donation page was designed to be quick, fast and easy for people to make a donation. We limited the data fields to the “Need to know” information instead of the “nice to know information:”

We created the ability for someone to select a set amount to donate ($40, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or other amount), as well as the ability to donate anonymously.

We used an SSL certificate and PayPal to handle the transaction processing, and re-assured donors that all donations are fully tax-deductible. And as many charitable foundations (i.e. family foundations) are only able to make payments by check, we included the address as a way that donations could be sent in via mail.

Return on Investment (ROI): The base price for the campaign, including landing page, email deployment and payment processing gateway development was approximately $3,000.


non-profit donation case study system

With more than $75,000 raised, the return on the marketing investment was a staggering 26 times return (2,554%).

For every $1 spent with Customer Paradigm on the campaign, we helped generate $25.54 in donations to the organization.

Client Feedback: “We hired Customer Paradigm to assist us with an email marketing campaign to help raise funds for our school (which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing high quality education to children with autism).”

“Among the many vendors we were entertaining, we chose Customer Paradigm because of their previous experience with non-profits and they seemed to offer all that we needed for the right $ amount.”

“Their full serviced email marketing package suited us best as non-marketing professionals and they worked both closely and patiently with us until we were extremely satisfied with our end product. We would not have been able to raise over $75,000 for the Brooklyn Autism Center if it weren’t for the dedicated team at Customer Paradigm.”


Summary: A well designed campaign, with strong calls to action generated a 25:1 return on the marketing campaign for the Brooklyn Autism Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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