Growing a Spanish-Language Donor Acquisition & Engagement Program

With native Spanish speakers making up 13% of the U.S. population, CRS tapped Further to lead the strategic planning and digital fundraising implementation to grow its Spanish-language program.

Client:
Catholic Relief Services
Program:
Hispanic Engagement
Non-Profit Category:
International Relief

Challenge

With native Spanish speakers making up 13% of the U.S. population, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) wanted to work with Further to grow its Spanish-language digital fundraising program. The U.S. Hispanic population is far from homogenous and starting a new program to this audience required a multi-year commitment and a cultivation-first mentality for planning. CRS had made prior efforts to engage these audiences but the complicated nature of this type of program, combined by the limited initial financial returns often resulted in a pause-and-reset mentality. Fortunately, despite not having a consistent outreach effort over the years, CRS had created and maintained a robust Spanish-language version of their website. This was an important first step in allowing our new strategy to take root.

Strategy

Further started by working with the CRS Hispanic Outreach team to evaluate and improve their capacity to deliver a seamless Spanish-language donor acquisition and cultivation experience. Once these foundations were ensured, we developed a mass-market strategy specifically for U.S. Spanish-first speakers, accounting for the many diverse profiles and preferences within that broad-based audience.

Paid advertising was one part of the solution, in combination with integrated online/offline traditional media and non-traditional digital media engagement efforts. Further and the CRS team developed a multi-year strategy to smartly use advertising to cultivate and grow the Spanish-speaking audience, both through lead capture and direct fundraising.

After refining our systems for developing Spanish content across CRS and Further, we created a testing plan that incorporated timing, channels, campaigns, targeting approaches, imagery, web content and messaging. We knew not every test would be a gamechanger, but a handful of highly impactful results helped CRS Hispanic Outreach jumpstart its file while also improving ROI.

Results

The first 12 months were focused on intense but patient learning efforts with limited financial expectations. This allowed for robust growth in Year 2. (Sometimes it takes patience, especially from the finance team, to plant seeds and nurture them to adolescence!)

In Year 2, non-emergency new donors exploded by 450% while new emergency donors were up 41%. Active donors on file increased 96% and overall Spanish-language revenue grew 31%. In parallel with this widely heralded growth, the initial and ongoing testing helped improve CPAs in key channels by 86% since launch.

These Year 2 results provided CRS’s Hispanic Outreach team with the proof of concept they needed to continue to expand the program—this was what had been lacking in prior launch efforts.

CRS recognized and prioritized a large pocket of untapped opportunity and engaged Further to lead the strategic planning, acquisition, and paid ad creative design and media buying. Our approach was one of tolerance, both for the learning process itself as well as for delayed gratification of immediate revenue objectives. This patience was rewarded with a program that was able to grow quickly in Year 2 and beyond. More importantly, with others struggling to engage Hispanic audiences, CRS has positioned itself to be a go-to charity among Spanish-speakers who embrace their values and programs.

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