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NLA sees return on ad spend of nearly 400% for flagship program


3 min read
Feb 10, 2022


Ad spend


Net-new audience


Revenue generated


Return on ad spend


The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) wanted to increase interest and participation in their educational programs, but their reliance on SEO and organic traffic brought in disappointing results.


NLA used Feathr Services, Flights and Ads to attract, nurture and convert leads to their educational offerings. An investment of $4,207 in ad spend generated $16,500 in revenue from their Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) program.

Through free and paid educational programs, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) helps nonprofit leaders develop the skills they need to make a difference in the world. Their flagship program, the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential, is the only nationally recognized credential in nonprofit management that provides learning and real-world experience.

The organization had used an external SEO agency to market their CNP credential, as well as other programs, but they weren’t getting the results they’d hoped. 

“We focused our marketing efforts and entire budget extensively through SEO and organic search, putting almost no money toward digital advertising. We were essentially waiting for individuals and organizations to come directly to us through Google and referrals,” said Miles Bilka, CNP, marketing manager at the NLA.

They knew from experience that talking to potential buyers on the phone was one of their most successful ways to sell their programs, but they needed a reliable source of good-quality leads. Their passive marketing approach meant they had little control over where leads came from or when they came in.  

They were ready to take a proactive approach to digital marketing. “After a year of putting our full efforts toward SEO, we realized we needed to try something new,” said Bilka.

Nonprofit knowledge & expertise

After learning about Feathr from a colleague, Bilka contacted the company in early 2021 to learn more. Although cautious after their disappointing experience with an SEO agency, Feathr’s industry knowledge and expertise won Bilka and his team over. 

“The biggest selling point for us in the discovery process was speaking to our soon-to-be customer success manager,” said Bilka. “Talking to her, we felt completely at ease, especially knowing that she had a nonprofit degree and background with nonprofits – she got it and got what we were trying to accomplish.”  

NLA started with a four-month package using Feathr Services to implement and manage their first campaign. Then, with Feathr’s support and training, they moved to using Feathr Ads and Flights on their own. Bilka says using Feathr Services helped lay the groundwork for later campaigns.

“We modeled what Feathr Services did in the beginning because it had such success,” said Bilka. “We now have a large audience that we can serve ads to because of that initial campaign, and we are focused on retargeting that audience and offering free webinars and training to them.”

Feathr’s geofencing abilities have allowed NLA to connect with college students around the country. This has been especially useful during the pandemic. “Students walk around and see our ad and that's just irreplaceable in our eyes. We can't really be on the campus, so to have that presence online and digitally is a really good asset for us,” said Bilka.

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance - Mockup  (1) (1)

Example: ad promoting their credential featured in an article on yahoo! news.

A proactive marketing tool

NLA’s new proactive approach to digital marketing has increased the sales of their educational programs. For example, a three-month summer campaign resulted in $16,500 in revenue from an ad spend of $4,207 for their CNP program. “It's gratifying to see the NLA get great results. On this project alone, they saw a return on ad spend of nearly 400%,” said Meg Boria-Meyer, Feathr campaign strategist.

Offering free training is another way the NLA fulfills their mission and responds to important issues in their industry. Using the Feathr platform, they’ve connected their audience to free events such as their training course, What’s Fair? Exploring Social Justice in America, which saw 900 people register.

Feathr’s robust analytics means that Bilka can clearly see what’s working and what isn’t and adjust as necessary to increase ROI. “In the past, I don't think we really understood how to measure success. With the Feathr platform, you can see as clear as day how things are performing,” he said. It also means that Bilka and his team no longer have to juggle multiple spreadsheets to record data, saving them time and eliminating headaches. 

"At the NLA, we are expanding the way we reach our mission of strengthening the social sector with a talented and prepared workforce,” said Alanna Beare, a board member at NLA. “We have introduced new programs and offerings which target additional audiences leading us to refine our marketing strategy. Utilizing Feathr as part of that strategy allows us to broaden our reach by leveraging multiple digital platforms in a consolidated, cost-effective way. The more people we reach and provide life-long learning opportunities to in the social sector, the stronger the sector becomes."

"Utilizing Feathr... allows us to broaden our reach by leveraging multiple digital platforms in a consolidated, cost-effective way."
Miles Bilka, CNP


Copy of NLA logo 2016-1-1


The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance is dedicated to making sure nonprofit organizations have the talented workforce needed to fulfill their missions. They offer a number of talent development programs for nonprofit leaders.


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