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How rescue missions can unlock their digital potential

In today’s digital age, the ways in which rescue missions reach out, engage and serve their communities continue to see profound changes. A big reason for this is that donors have come to expect a greater digital presence from the nonprofit organizations they support.

But the journey toward a more mature digital fundraising program isn't just about adopting the latest tech.

Digital maturity is a spectrum. Some rescue missions are already leveraging advanced technology, while others are just beginning to lay their foundation.

The key is how well you're able to communicate your brand and your values across all channels to drive awareness, build trust and cultivate stronger relationships. In this blog post, we’ll break down a few areas that your life transformation ministry should focus on—no matter what your starting point is—as you look to accelerate your online growth.

The tech behind the mission

Let’s start with tech stacks.

It's tempting to jump onto the latest digital trends and strategies. But without a solid tech foundation, even the most innovative digital plans will fall short.

As my colleague Vidya Chadaga writes, many nonprofits use a variety of software products that are designed for other industries and don’t work well together to serve our industry’s unique needs.

This isn’t just about using technology; it's about using the right technology. As you plan for your long-term future, your tech choices should stand the test of time, scaling with you as you grow.

You should incorporate systems that allow for robust tracking and measurement across platforms. This leads to greater optimization and higher ROI. After all, if you can't measure it, you can't improve it.

Using the right technology will also enable you to send more personalized communication. With customized donor journeys―through automated emails, adaptive website copy and targeted digital ads―you can cultivate deeper relationships with your supporters.

The goal is to ensure your mission's voice is harmonized across all channels while giving supporters more of the content they’re looking for. It's not only about being online but being recognizably “you” everywhere you mark your presence.

Stewardship in the digital frontier

Speaking of cultivating deeper relationships, stewardship is an essential piece of any digital strategy. You must go beyond just asking for gifts—this is about celebrating the impact of your donors and showing your gratitude for their generosity.

At the very least, automated thank-you emails should be standard. Every donation is a personal investment someone made in your mission.

But you should go a step further to regularly report back results. Donors want to see the change their contributions are making.

Our recent research—“Solid Gold: The Nonprofit Marketer's Guide to Trust”—found that the primary driving forces toward building trust with donors are transparency and competence. Donors want you to tell them your plans, execute on those plans and report back how their donation helped achieve them.

While it might be tempting to sideline stewardship for more immediate returns, it's crucial for long-term success. This is a marathon, not a sprint, after all.

Embracing evergreen digital media

While campaign-specific media creates a buzz around a moment, rescue missions need to think bigger and broader. Evergreen digital media can work wonders in a number of ways:

  • Provides consistent visibility: Unlike time-sensitive campaigns, year-round ads ensure that your mission remains visible and relevant to your audience.
  • Offers data-driven optimization: Long-term campaigns provide valuable data for refining strategies and allocating budgets more effectively.
  • Encourages audience growth (and retention): You can attract and retain a wider audience over time with ads that cater to both current supporters and new ones who discover you.
  • Supports fundraising: A consistent digital presence can lead to more frequent and sustained donor engagements, which lead to a higher gift frequency.
  • Gives a foundation for campaigns: Evergreen content provides a solid base upon which time-sensitive or topical campaigns can be built, ensuring there's always a backdrop of consistent messaging before ramping up for a campaign.

From display ads to paid social to connected TV, the tools are abundant. It's all about finding where your donors (and prospects) are and creating a presence there.


Many rescue missions are at a crucial juncture in their digital programs. Digital growth isn't just a nice addition—it's the way forward. As technology and human compassion intertwine, the future for rescue missions is full of potential. 

In the next blog post, we look at three rescue missions that are implementing these strategies successfully.

Additional Resources 

Brandi Herson

With over a decade of experience in digital fundraising and marketing, Brandi is an expert at crafting strategies across channels to build relationships with donors and help organizations increase their reach. She joined RKD in 2023 and helps guide the overall digital strategy for her clients.

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