One of the largest international relief and development organizations needed to increase donations without overspending their budget.

Food for the Poor is a remarkably inspiring organization committed to serving poor communities by providing food, housing, clean water, healthcare, emergency relief, educational opportunities and more. Their history of success is truly awe-inspiring; however, as the world shifts toward more digital behaviors, they needed help developing a modern strategy to reach out to new – and past donors.

They turned to Cardinal for help.

feeding the poorEach client we work with has budget restrictions that potentially limit their marketing options. However, as a non-profit organization, Food for the Poor’s restrictions are even more profound.

Considering that, our goal was to help our clients get the fastest return on investment. As such, developing a comprehensive SEO strategy wasn’t our best option. SEO and organic strategies can – and do – formulate long-lasting bonds between customers and companies (or in this case, donors and non-profits); however, it could take months, if not longer to see the fruits of your labor.

Instead, we opted to jump right in with a paid media campaign.

Launching a paid media campaign means having to know the goals of our client, the audience they’re targeting, and the keywords that will deliver the best possible return on investment.

As a full-service digital agency, we have the benefit of being able to conduct all preliminary paid-media research in-house, in a collaborative effort that ensures every strategy we implement delivers a cohesive user experience.

The project manager dedicated to Food for the Poor got started on developing the non-profit’s core long-term and short-term goals, while he directed our market research team to develop a detailed audit on the organization’s target audience.

With these key elements in place, our researchers had what they needed to then build out an extensive keyword – and negative keyword – list.

The keyword lists we developed aimed at targeting key donor prospects at the right time, at the right place, with the right message. They also served as the foundation of our ad and landing page copy.

The negative keyword lists we created helped us keep our client’s ad spend costs in check. By developing this negative keyword list, we minimized the instances where our client’s ads appeared on the screens of prospects not likely to become donors.

As a result of this pre-launch work, we successfully crafted ads built around high-performing search terms that we knew prospective donors were using as they scoured the web:


Here you can see how our client’s ad appeared at the top spot for the popular search term, hunger charities.

The URL associated with this ad was a dedicated landing page we crafted that helped us measure conversions, actions, and sources of traffic for this campaign.

Here are the results of our campaign:

  • $931,867 total donations raised via PPC campaigns ($388,852 in new, and $543,015 recurring)
  • CPA (cost per acquisition) $3.72 with an average donation of just under $21.00
  • 6-1 ROI

And while these ads, upon launch, offered tremendous ROI for Food for the Poor, we haven’t stopped refining the ad and landing page copy, as well as update the client’s keyword lists, to continue to bring down cost-per-acquisition costs.

Our paid media team has also identified the best days of the week and times of the day to deliver these ads so that our client enjoys an optimal return on their investment.

As our client’s needs continue to expand we’ll find new and exciting ways to increase their donations while minimizing their ad spend.

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