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Flipping the charity model on its head.

Boosted

Incremental revenue by £500,000 within a year through UX optimisation and A/B testing

85%

Boost in conversions from viewed content to donation

£1.5

Million raised for the Ukraine Appeal in just two weeks

Save the Children uses:

Adobe Analytics

Adobe Campaign

Adobe Experience Manager

Adobe Target

Adobe Ultimate Support

Adobe Creative Cloud for Enterprise

Adobe InDesign

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Stock

“There are many reasons why people donate to charities, but above all they want to see their money has made a difference. With Adobe, we’ve developed a digital experience that speaks directly to our audience and gives them confidence that they can effect change in challenging times.”

Atanu Roy

Head of Digital Experience, Save the Children UK

A global shockwave turned digital catalyst

Headquartered in London, Save the Children UK is a charitable organization that works in over 100 countries around the world to help every child reach their full potential with access to education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and disaster relief.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the charity was forced to cancel its flagship donor events and community fundraising drives. Despite these huge challenges, the charity launched its largest appeal in its 100-year history.

“Families may not have access to healthcare, clean water, and may suffer language or literacy barriers. We must ensure they have the support and information they need to protect themselves. This is vital for all, because no one is safe until everyone is safe,” said the then CEO of Save the Children UK, Kevin Watkins in a press release in 2020.

Turning to digital marketing and campaigns to reach its audience, Save the Children drove record donations at a critical time for children and families around the world, while simultaneously transforming the way it creates and rolls out online experiences.

“Not only were we trying to support families during a pandemic, but we also had to raise more money than ever whilst working remotely,” recalls Atanu Roy, Head of Digital Experience at Save the Children UK. “Online became the focal point of our fundraising, and thankfully we had been working with Adobe to put the right pieces into place for exactly this kind of challenge.”

With Adobe Experience Cloud, Save the Children gained a one-stop platform to fuel its digital content creation, marketing, and donor experiences. Rather than relying on external partners to develop its digital experiences, the charity brought its digital workflows in-house, upskilled its teams to create compelling online content, and began rolling out digital campaigns faster than ever.

“Working with Adobe has been hugely beneficial for our digital teams and for the children whose vitality depends on our ability to raise money for them online in today’s world. We can now mobilize faster than ever in response to humanitarian emergencies, be it COVID-19, a natural disaster, or the War in Ukraine,” says Atanu.

“Working with Adobe has been hugely beneficial for our digital teams and for the children whose vitality depends on our ability to raise money for them online in today’s world.”

Atanu Roy

Head of Digital Experience, Save the Children UK

Driving donations with data

Save the Children’s digital journey began in 2015, when its board made a commitment to invest in the people, processes, and technologies required to strengthen the charity’s digital propositions. The charity began its Adobe implementation in 2017, taking its time over the next two years to explore the technology and develop new ways of working.

Then came COVID-19, the first real test for Save the Children’s trailblazing approach to digital marketing and fundraising, fueled by rich digital content and personalized experiences. The charity responded quickly, using Adobe Experience Manager to launch its coronavirus appeal and to build an online hub full of free valuable resources for children and parents across the UK who suddenly found themselves locked down.

“A big part of our digital success during the pandemic was down to being able to act quickly, getting our creative and marketing teams to spin up new webpages and update them with content regularly,” says Atanu. “That would not have been possible without Adobe.”

Meanwhile, the use of Adobe Analytics and A/B testing with Adobe Target gave Save the Children valuable insight into audience behaviour, helping the charity to boost donations, particularly through Direct Response TV (DRTV) which saw a major boost during the pandemic. People visiting the Save the Children donation page directly after a TV ad had aired were presented with tailored content for that specific campaign, making it more likely that they’d donate to that cause.

“We previously did little testing. Fueled by deeper audience insights, our initial bursts of activity in the early days of COVID-19 kept us relevant to supporters and helped us uncover unexpected opportunities to connect with new donors,” says Atanu.

Tactics like this helped the charity to earn another £300,000 in incremental revenue in the first half of 2021. The enhancements Save the Children made to its user experience with A/B testing also helped it to increase its Revenue Per Visitor (RVP) by 25%, while driving up its revenue per page view by 83%.

Crucially for Atanu, Save the Children improved its conversion rate for both new donors and returning supporters. The number of visitors to the charity’s website that were converted into donors jumped 85%, while number of visitors who signed up to become regular donors increased by 58%. For Atanu, the latter figure is a major proof point for the power of digital experiences to build loyalty and long-term support in the charity sector.

“A big part of our digital success during the pandemic was down to being able to act quickly, getting our creative and marketing teams to spin up new webpages and update them with content regularly. That would not have been possible without Adobe.”

Atanu Roy

Head of Digital Experience, Save the Children UK

A groundbreaking approach to fundraising

Save the Children continues to make strides in its digital fundraising approach, setting itself apart among non-profit organizations. Atanu’s team has been testing new homepages, experimenting with dynamic offer management, and bringing its stories to life in creative ways across the charity’s digital platforms.

“I take pride in knowing we break ground within the UK’s charitable sector each day. For instance, we are the first charity in the international development sector to use hypotheses from behavioural economics and psychology to reach audiences and boost donations,” says Atanu.

A prime example of the charity’s success when it comes to testing and learning is its donation live-feed, which displays recent donations made via its website and uses them as social proof to inspire other donors. This tactic was first tested with Adobe Target in 2019 and iterated several times to drive maximum impact. It proved so successful in terms of increased conversion via A/B testing that it became a fully automated fixture of Save the Children’s website, built with Experience Manager.

Equally innovative is Save The Children’s use of segmented homepages. The ability to maximize inbound traffic through UX optimisation and A/B testing web content related to specific appeals has been transformational for the charity, helping it to boost incremental revenue by £500,000 within a year.

“Adobe Ultimate Support is the missing piece that allows us to unlock the power of solutions like Adobe Analytics, Target, and Experience Manager in a way that enables our product owners to take full advantage.”

Atanu Roy

Head of Digital Experience, Save the Children UK

Empowering content creators

In addition to these major wins in marketing and conversion, Save the Children continues to strengthen its capabilities in digital content creation with Adobe Creative Cloud. From designers to social media managers, teams use Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop to create compelling content to support Save the Children’s appeals, website and email content, and social posts.

They can also experiment with new content types more quickly and with greater autonomy. Team members that had never created social content before have now taken ownership of Save the Children’s content creation on social platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

Digital Content & Experience Manager, Elin John, reflects on how Creative Cloud has empowered her to take content creation into her own hands. “I've never used a technology like Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s easy to learn, and with a bit of training anyone can become a digital content expert,” she says.

Elin and her colleagues can also create social media posts at record speed thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries. Save the Children’s designers can create and share centralized content assets that are instantly accessible to teams across the organisation, speeding up workflows and bringing consistency to the content creation process.

The solution has also simplified resource sharing for the team, which can now draw on a centralized library of images that can be easily pulled into content designs. “Content used to be briefed into another team and could take weeks to create. Creative Cloud Libraries is much easier and saves us loads of time,” says Elin.

Save the Children complements its content libraries with imagery from Adobe Stock. While the organization has an extensive collection of content, stock imagery has proved valuable when experimenting with new visual styles, or when time is of the essence. “We need to react to news stories quickly, especially if we want to be relevant on social channels,” says Elin. “Between our in-house libraries and Adobe Stock, there’s always a relevant photo we can use, which means we can create assets quickly and consistently.”

Speed is essential for Save the Children’s social team, which must be ready to respond to global events as quickly as possible to maximize the impact of its posts to drive donations to those most in need. “Adobe Creative Cloud has been a real game-changer. Content that would have previously taken us two weeks to create now takes just two hours,” says Elin.

“It's not just that we work faster and more efficiently,” she adds. “Everyone on our team has been empowered to explore their creativity and hone their content skills.”

“Adobe Creative Cloud has been a real game-changer. Content that would have previously taken us two weeks to create now takes just two hours.”

Elin John

Digital Content and Experience Manager, Save the Children UK

Premier experiences backed by Ultimate Support

The success of Save the Children’s digital transformation stems from the strength of its convictions, the talent of its people, and the new technologies it uses to reach audiences online. But the speed with which it has embraced new ways of working is also down to the technical guidance and expertise of Adobe Ultimate Support.

“Adobe’s marketing stack is an impressive enterprise-class system, but as a charity we don’t have the people or resources to maximize its potential,” says Atanu. “Adobe Ultimate Support is the missing piece that allows us to unlock the power of solutions like Adobe Analytics, Target, and Experience Manager in a way that enables our product owners to take full advantage.”

This support from Adobe also allowed Save the Children to eliminate siloes between its functions. It has now reorganized its people into an Adobe Product Owners squad that collaborates across channels and solutions, with members leveraging expertise from Ultimate Support to improve the way they work together. Within this structure, Adobe is now helping Save the Children to roll out new microsites so it can get products and propositions to market even faster and accelerating it’s ability to personalise experiences even further.

“By getting our campaigns to market quickly, being strategic with SEO, and serving people highly relevant content when they reached our site, we were able to raise £1.5 million pounds in a fortnight.”

Atanu Roy

Head of Digital Experience, Save the Children UK

Mobilizing for Ukraine

Save the Children’s ability to mobilize quickly proved indispensable in its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. When the UK’s Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) appealed to charities across the country to raise funds for the war-torn nation, Save the Children’s contribution was second only to that from the British Red Cross, which has significantly greater resources and reach.

Atanu attributes much of this result to Save the Children’s enhanced digital experience. “By getting our campaigns to market quickly, being strategic with SEO, and serving people highly relevant content when they reached our site, we were able to raise £1.5 million in a fortnight.” According to charity this amount can provide around 150,000 food baskets, 220,000 family hygiene packs and 90,000 emergency first aid kits to those most in need.

Using Analytics, Atanu’s team noticed that many supporters donating to the Ukraine appeal often returned to make further donations. With Analytics and Target, the team served these repeat visitors with a different homepage highlighting the impact of donations and Save the Children’s ongoing efforts in Ukraine, validating supporters’ generosity.

“There are many reasons why people donate to charities, but above all they want to see their money has made a difference,” says Atanu. “With Adobe, we’ve developed a digital experience that speaks directly to our audience and gives them confidence that they can effect change in challenging times.”

Creating lifetime value inside and out

Save the Children has made incredible strides in its use of digital channels to connect with donors, especially during two of the 21st century’s most challenging periods. But it also understands that to have long-term impact its needs long-term relationships with donors.

“Staying relevant for donors depends on where they are in their journey. For instance, if they’ve previously contributed to a similar cause, or if they’re a high-value supporter who donates regularly, we need to set different rules for engaging with them than a first-time visitor,” says Atanu.

“That’s where Adobe comes in, from Adobe Campaign which we use to orchestrate our messages based on audience data, to Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics and Adobe Experience Manager which allows us to personalize each person’s website experience based on their behavioural data,” Atanu adds.

Save the Children’s commitment to creating lifetime value also extends to its employees. The progress it has made in recent years has helped it to retain top talent and hire new individuals eager to make a difference in an organization that takes digital content seriously.

“Every person on my team could earn more in the private sector but they choose to work with us because they care, and because they get to work with fantastic technologies like Adobe,” says Atanu. “The space we give them to produce amazing digital experiences keeps them excited in their heads and in their hearts, so they can continue to make a lasting impact for children and families around the world.”

Donations to support Save the Children’s vital causes can be made at savethechildren.org.uk.

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