Like many faith-based nonprofit organizations, Hiway 80 does not receive government funding. Instead, they rely completely on generous support from donors and community volunteers to run their programs.
Hiway 80’s Director of Development, Amelia Heatherly, wears many hats at the organization, including fundraising, event promotion, and donor communications. Traditionally, the nonprofit has relied on print marketing, mailouts, and social media to get the word out about its work. With limited time and technical know-how, it was a challenge to create digital ads or manage online fundraising campaigns.
When they did decide to move into the digital space, they approached the marketing company they were already working with on their print campaigns. In less than a year, they spent 25 times as much as they made in donations through the partnership.
Hiway 80’s experience left them questioning if digital marketing was worth the time or cost.
Ads and email campaigns helped reach new donors
Hiway 80 had hoped to boost awareness and increase donations to the mission through digital channels, but the results were unimpressive. For Heatherly, it seemed like digital marketing wasn’t an effective use of the organization’s time or marketing budget. So when she started receiving calls from Feathr’s sales team, she dismissed them at first.
After a few calls, she learned more about Feathr’s services and its solutions for nonprofits. To Heatherly, their promises sounded a little too good to be true, but she decided to move forward anyway. She was happy to know that after licensing costs, any fees would go directly toward their marketing campaigns without any hidden expenses.
Feathr staff immediately set Heatherly up with one-on-one training sessions that accommodated her schedule. Once Feathr Ads and email campaigns were set up, she was able to focus on what she does best: planning events and handling the calls with donors. Feathr staff handled the campaigns, which highlighted Hiway 80’s faith and Christ-centered philosophy. They designed clever, seasonal ads, and followed up with smart emails. They used geofencing to target people attending large, local events like fairs and jamborees, reaching a wider audience and increasing donations.
According to Heatherly, “The customer service was amazing! They did everything they said they would do and so much more. They were never too busy for me, and they treated us like a Fortune 500 company. Feathr really, really impressed us.”
Optimized fundraising campaigns brought in $13k
When they partnered with Feather, Hiway 80’s staff wanted to educate the community about their services. The year-long mentoring program alone can cost $10,000 to $14,000 per person, covering basic needs and helping individuals find employment, begin to save money, and become completely self-sufficient.
Heatherly says, “We want people to know we provide much more than a homeless shelter with three hot meals and a cot. We want them to hear about the year-long programs that can help people recover from addiction and bring real transformation to their life. Feathr is helping us educate our online community.”
Recent campaigns have served over 400,000 impressions and attracted a net-new audience of 36,000. To Heatherly, this is great news because these are people that can now be targeted in future campaigns.
As far as donations, Heatherly set the bar low. She would have been happy to bring enough donations to pay for their initial media spend of $3,675. She was thrilled to see recent campaigns bring in $13k and expects the momentum to increase over time. Effective campaigns and proven systems have made a believer out of Heatherly, and she is confident about moving forward with Feathr.
“Our Feathr campaigns are directly impacting the people we serve, from donations that come in, to the exposure, to educating the public. It’s a trickle-down effect.”
Hiway 80 has recently upgraded to a new tier of Feathr offerings and looks forward to increased digital reach as they expand their program in nearby cities.