Friends of the Earth

Environmental, Animals, Creative and brand strategy, Email strategy, Lead generation, Community engagement, SMS strategy, Strategic planning

When partnering with nonprofits working to drive critical, necessary change throughout the world, MissionWired centers fundraising strategy around identifying what excites supporters and moves them to give and using those insights to build an approach that leverages affinity to maximize response.

Over $1 million raised in the following year based on these learnings.

MissionWired and their partner Friends of the Earth, a bold voice fighting for justice and the planet, conducted rigorous testing to identify topic areas that motivated their audience and drove increased giving – leading to goal-smashing results.

The Challenge

Friends of the Earth entered 2022 with a critical takeaway from their end-of-year campaigns: Their audience responded strongly to fundraising messages that centered on how corporate polluters harm orcas and the web of life they’re connected with – from coastal communities to ocean ecosystems. In fact, a single all-graphic email featuring orcas was by far the best-performing email of their 2021 year-end campaign, raising nearly $50,000 over its original send and subsequent resends. As they planned their fundraising strategy for the new year, they sought to lean into this insight and utilize their knowledge of this affinity to turn it into an effective fundraising strategy.


The Strategy

As soon as it became clear to the team at MissionWired and their partners at Friends of the Earth that orcas were a subject that drew a strong response from their audience, they pivoted their strategy, collaborating on messaging that maximized its potential for fundraising as much as possible. Doing so involved focusing approach on a few key strategies:

Follow the test results

Leaning into audience response in fundraising messaging means paying close attention to testing at every level of content creation. A head-to-head test between subjects – orcas against Friend of the Earth’s previous top-performing subject: pollinators – running both campaigns at the same time revealed that in the moment, emails focused on protecting the orca population performed better. Additional tests pinpointed strategy: Their audience responded better when the featured whale had a name, and messaging that linked to survey content performed better than direct-to-donate links over SMS.

Maximize sends

For the biggest giving days of the year, MissionWired and Friends of the Earth collaborated to maximize the content being sent to their supporters. From a single all-graphic email developed by MissionWired, Friends of the Earth was able to build out a series of smaller emails, sent and resent throughout their most important fundraising moments. Results from these efforts proved that resends can sometimes even outperform initial sends, increasing overall revenue for the day.



Create moments of urgency

After seeing the success of orca-related content in traditional fundraising moments like Giving Tuesday and year-end, MissionWired encouraged Friends of the Earth to take advantage of more opportunities to create giving moments. In 2022, World Orca Day and World Oceans Day allowed Friends of the Earth to create dedicated giving days with further content centered around protecting orcas from the oil, gas, and cruise industries. Combined, these giving days raised nearly $100k for their program on top of their usual annual revenue.

The Results

By noticing what top-performing content can tell us about an audience’s preference and leaning into creative successes to maximize fundraising potential, MissionWired and Friends of the Earth were able to increase the potential for their year-end campaigns and develop their strategy to bring in more revenue in the new year, ahead of Giving Tuesday and year-end in 2022.


raised from a single Giving Tuesday SMS campaign

Nearly $50,000

raised from sends and resends of a single all-graphic email at end-of-year 2021


additional revenue raised from dedicated giving days on World Orca Day and World Oceans Day in 2022

Not only was Friends of the Earth able to use the success of messaging in support of orcas to drive large-scale revenue increases, they also utilized the tactic of taking top performing topics and turning them into broader campaigns and Giving Days in order to drive over $1M in revenue in the last year.

For more top strategies in fundraising, read our takeaways in the 2022 End-of-Year Report. To hear more about MissionWired’s approach to data-informed creative strategy, read When Inspiration Meets Insights: A Q&A with MissionWired Creative Leads Bob Albrecht and Sara Guggisberg.