Digital Marketing at Manifesto: Our work in 2020

Illustrative person balancing weights representing digital marketing elements in each hand

For the vast majority of UK charities, 2020 was perhaps the most challenging year they’ve ever faced. Not only has demand for their services surged, but traditional channels of income have become compromised and are in need of a re-think. All this, against the backdrop of nationwide economic hardship, has also seen UK donors give on average £140 million less a month since the lockdown began.


But charities haven’t had time to wallow in these dire straits. They’ve had to act. And fast. With the help of Manifesto, a number of charities parted with familiar, tried-and-tested marketing strategies. Whilst scary, it was absolutely the right thing to do. In the midst of an ever-changing climate, it was vital these charities matched such conditions with reactive, fluid marketing campaigns which could pivot alongside the evolving pandemic. Here’s a few examples of how we did that last year:


Scaling socials with FFI

One of Manifesto’s clients, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) – like many charities – desperately needed to pivot its digital strategy when the pandemic hit and national lockdowns ensued. We built an ‘always-on’ digital donation acquisition model for the organisation, starting with a pilot programme to prove the value of scaling its social channel to FFI’s stakeholders.

The pilot achieved an impressive 311% in return on investment (ROI). With every £1 invested in Facebook media, the charity’s social channel returned £8.34 for FFI. Nine months later, the model is still in place and reaching a return on advertising spend (ROAS) of 4.4:1.

“Additional funds like these aren’t small numbers for FFI,” says the charity’s Head of Supporter Recruitment and Development. “If we can keep it up, they’re going to make a genuine difference to what we’re able to achieve for conservation – especially in a time of crisis.”

Outside of the pandemic, Manifesto’s work has helped FFI totally rethink the way it does business. “Our work with the team so far has been an emphatic success. If the team keeps it up over the next year, it stands a chance of rewriting large chunks of our business strategy in an extremely positive way. We’re chuffed.”


Performance equals profit with The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, another client of Manifesto’s, was faced with big challenges when the UK lockdown hit because it severely decreased public support for rough sleepers and food banks. So between 27 March and 21 June, Manifesto ran a multi-channel digital campaign for the charity in order to drive donations for its coronavirus impact food programme. 

With data leading the way, the campaign strategy rested on automated rules which – based on daily performance – would incrementally increase advertisement spend 5% each day. That is, as long as the campaign was making a profit. Such automation meant performance could quite literally dictate spending. 

Over the three months, Manifesto kept up a 731% ROAS for The Salvation Army. Overall, we helped the charity bring in more than £1 million in revenue. That means for every £1 which went into the campaign, £7.31 came back to the charity. In all, the campaign attracted a notable 13,790 donors, with around half of those (6,870) being cold.


Turning things around with Diabetes UK

For Diabetes UK, the lockdown landed just as its biggest campaign of the year, One Million Steps, was set to take place. Despite the new and confined conditions, we collaborated with the charity to turn what could have been a disappointing blip on its performance sheet into one of the most successful campaigns the charity has enjoyed to date.

Year-on-year (YoY), we saw the cost per action (CPA) come down by almost 40%, even though the global pandemic severely restricted the amount people could walk. Big improvements in Facebook’s performance contributed to this upturn. With 4.5% more spend on the social channel YoY, we saw a whopping 74% more registrations.

But the main factor in the campaign’s success was Manifesto’s ability to adapt the charity’s strategy at such short notice. We had to ensure Diabetes UK adverts were running even when everyone else’s weren’t, and turn over new advert copy which reflected the unfurling global situation.

In all, the campaign raised just short of £2 million in 2020. That’s a 141% increase YoY. “We’re really impressed with the continuous improvements Manifesto have implemented to our paid search, display and social campaigns over the past couple of years,” says the organisation’s Senior Events and Mass Participation Manager.

“It’s brilliant to see our participation events programme grow so effectively, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”


These are just some of the marketing campaigns we’ve embarked on with clients to date. For more examples and case studies, you can click here.

In the meantime, be sure to check back for our next and final article in this three-part mini-series, where we’ll be looking beyond 2020 into next year. Now is a time to reflect, so we’ve put together some top tips on how to do this, using what you’ve learnt in the past year.

Leave a reply

You can use these tags:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up for the Manifesto newsletter and exclusive event invites