COVID can’t stop us: Smash targets with a flexible, digital-first approach

An agile, digital-first approach that can be adopted by any organisation



About this session

Across IRC’s US and UK winter fundraising appeals, the team smashed its targets and raised almost $10 million USD in net revenue. Their agile, digital-first approach can be adopted by any organisation, and they want to show you how. Using a mix of digital channels including social, email, and search, the appeal generated over 100,000 gifts and increased year-on-year revenue by 106% in the UK and 13% in the US. The team’s core principles are test, optimise, and don’t make any assumptions about what will work! The session will cover key moments from the appeal that fellow fundraisers can learn from, including:

  • Tapping into the rising popularity of social justice slideshows on Instagram
  • Prioritising conversion rate optimisation on donate pages
  • Scrapping the traditional one-theme appeal, instead developing multiple messaging tracks
  • Learning from the “Trump bump” year and capitalising on the surge the next time around

Aimed at

  • Individual giving fundraisers who want to start raising money via digital channels
  • Experienced paid media and email marketers who are looking for new things to test
  • Anyone interested in digital innovation and optimisation

Learning outcomes

  • The importance of testing lots of messaging, on both email and ads, and of building that flexibility into your campaign from the very start
  • How to leverage key giving moments within a campaign, using Giving Tuesday as a test case
  • How to analyse your results and make data-driven changes to your ads, emails, and donate pages



Phil Woollam (USA)
Vice President, International Rescue Committee
Saskia van Berkel (UK)
Acquisition Marketing Manager - UK, International Rescue Committee UK
Emily Martin (USA)
Associate Director of Digital Marketing, International Rescue Committee