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Degrees of Change uses ads to help drive 161 applications

Degrees of Change

DegreesOfChange

$705

Total ad spend

54,000

Impressions

161

Completed applications

The challenge

Degrees of Change was struggling to connect with high school seniors who could benefit most from their Act Six scholarship. The organization needed to supplement their recruitment methods to engage students and increase applications to their programs.

The solution

Degrees of Change used retargeting ads to connect students with the Act Six scholarship. With an ad spend of $705, they made over 54,000 impressions and brought in 161 completed applications.

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Degrees of Change is a not-for-profit organization that actively builds partnerships between colleges, community organizations, and local businesses. Together, they help underrepresented students overcome systemic barriers to higher education and walk alongside them to positively impact their home communities after graduating. Its Act Six program connects students with full-tuition scholarships and leadership development opportunities that dramatically increase their chances of success.

Act Six had been experiencing a decline in applications from high school students over the last several years, and COVID-19 restrictions only increased recruitment challenges. Without consistent access to in-person classroom visits and presentations, it was hard to help students learn about the Act Six program and its benefits. The program leaders knew that if they could get in front of more students, they could increase scholarship applications. They needed to get creative about connecting with students who wanted to pursue higher education.

Naticcia McNamara, director of program operations, started looking into online ads. “We were trying to think of strategic and innovative ways to reach high school students without the ability to actually get in front of them, but we’d never dabbled in online ads before,” McNamara said. “Nobody on our team was familiar with advertising at all.”

The team considered a few options but landed with Feathr, who offered hands-on support, training, and a platform to measure the success of their campaigns.

Support for fast, easy implementation


Using Feathr’s retargeting ads, Act Six increased program awareness, re-engaged students who had previously shown interest, provided more information, and prompted students to meet scholarship application deadlines.

With the help of Feathr’s step-by-step training videos and a dedicated onboarding specialist, Act Six launched the first campaign just one week after signing up. That was important because the program application deadline was quickly approaching.

The retargeted ads were good reminders for high school seniors who had visited the Act Six website but who hadn’t followed through with scholarship applications. The ads provided the nudge students needed to complete their applications and submit them on time.

McNamara felt like she learned a lot, right from the start. “We partnered with Feathr knowing it would be a learning year,” she said. “We gained a lot of experience with advertising strategy.”

The team found the platform and its analytics dashboard very accessible and appreciated the ability to run and track their campaigns from scratch. McNamara said, “We could see our strategy was effective when we saw conversions. Students would click on an ad and then submit the related forms.”

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Example: ad from their Act Six application drive displayed in Southern Living.

Helping students reach their potential

With an ad spend of only $705 and a cost per action of $1.19, Act Six increased its audience and reached more students through multiple ad campaigns. All campaigns brought in 54,000 views, and the final retargeting campaign resulted in 161 completed applications, making up over 25% of the submissions during that period.

“Students have definitely benefited,” McNamara says. “Students always need a nudge. Whether it’s from a teacher, a mentor, or an ad they see while playing video games, it’s important to meet students where they’re at.”

Since signing on with Feathr, the Degrees of Change team is much more confident about digital advertising. The team is happy with the support Feathr provides to collect and analyze the data, and they’ve since used Feathr to implement campaigns in other program areas.

For example, they recently used it for their Seed Internship campaign, and ongoing strategy discussions with Feathr’s customer success manager are helping them determine the best methods for launching future campaigns.

McNamara recommends Feathr to other nonprofits, saying, “If you’re considering partnering with Feathr to up your game in advertising campaigns, do it! Feather is a great partner. They provide excellent resources, and they are ready to support you in every possible way.”

“If you’re considering partnering with Feathr to up your game in advertising campaigns, do it!”

Naticcia McNamara, Director, Program Operations - Degrees of Change

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