Your Awareness Problem and What to Do About It
November 8, 2023
Kevin Schulman, Founder, DonorVoice and DVCanvass
All but the largest charity brands are mostly unknown by most people. We all fish in the same pond for the same donors over and over. And most fundraising professionals believe a dollar not spent on conversion is a dollar wasted.
But how to break out of the doom loop of rising costs, lower performance and fewer donors when all the spend is aimed at the same people and evaluated on the same conversion metrics?
It’s seems silly to say but people can’t give to you if they don’t know you exist. Awareness matters and the only way to increase awareness is to increase Reach. Every person who goes from 0 to 1 on exposure to your brand has been reached. And because of what’s dubbed the mere exposure effect, people reached are predisposed to have a favorable view of your brand.
And who should pay for this Reach and awareness building? Fundraisers and within your existing budget.
This data is from Fospha, one of the many attribution platforms on the market. What is this showing?
- Upper funnel advertising is ads bought with awareness goals, usually priced at cost per thousand and very cheap to run because there’s less competition as everyone’s incorrectly focused on only bottom of the funnel conversion.
- The blue bar is those brands running Reach and Awareness ads in addition to conversion ads.
- The purple bar is brands running only conversion.
- Look at the difference in ROAS. A 42% increase by redirecting some of your fundraising budget to the activity you likely thought was either a waste of money or someone else’s job.
What’s the catch? If you only run this experiment for 2 or 3 months you won’t see a positive return. Your cost to acquire and ROAS will be worse, not better. It takes a bit of time for Reach and Awareness spend to deliver down funnel.
But it will deliver. And the best news? You only need to divert 10% of your conversion fundraising spend to likely see positive returns, though plenty of brands go higher and reap more reward.