Case Study


Finding Nonprofit Marketing Success with For-Profit Marketing Strategies

How nonprofit marketing radicalized customer engagement—during a global pandemic.

World Vision U.S. is a global Christian humanitarian organization. They partner with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Their success supporting communities in need relies heavily on the contributions of individual donors a la their donor mail program; a program (and vital funds) that had started to wane.

World Vision knew they needed to reinvigorate their donor program by making bold changes; a mindset that led them to partner with HackerAgency, and introduce “for profit” direct marketing strategies to their nonprofit marketing world. Put another way, while there are important differences, we approach building a donor direct marketing channel with the same rigor in strategy as we would any similar channel.

For many nonprofit marketers, the idea of implementing a performance strategy conjures up less than positive images of sales and profit, but this approach has yielded valuable results and impact for the field. 

Christian Humanitarian Relief

Occasional Donors

Direct Mail

Nonprofit Marketing in modern times. No Small Task = No Single Strategy

Together, our goal was (and is) to cultivate a relationship between World Vision and every single donor supporting their efforts in our NFP marketing. That’s no small task for any brand (or any direct mail program) and one that would require adding a great deal of complexity to their existing campaigns—boldly infusing modern, innovative and proven strategies along each step of the donor journey.


The changing dynamics of philanthropy in the United States mean learning to tell stories and ask for funds in new ways. We’d need to modernize the messaging with a hyper-focused “hook”  and, as with many audiences knew these donors would respond well to specific, urgent appeals—given the seriousness of the cause–and crises we support.


World Vision NFP Direct Marketing Envelope with sticker
World Vision NFP Direct Marketing Letter Insert

Occasional givers are often more skeptical, which reinforces the need to validate the impact of their support with real, practical data. Our innovative approach to weaving data into each story provided donors with that tangible value by quickly demonstrating just how their giving helps tackle the root causes of poverty and injustice.

And, of course, the introduction of proven direct marketing tactics, including infusing personalization in new ways, would further solidify the donor-brand relationship, drawing these individuals into World Vision’s broader relief interventions.


Complex Stories. Clear Results. And wins for nonprofit marketing.

Even in our COVID times, the changes to date—both sweeping and incremental—have delivered not only improved response rates, but also an increase average gift. This increase in engagement suggests that the enhanced donor journey is taking flight. Let’s talk.


Double-digit growth in response & average donor gifts.


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