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Unlocking digital growth: How 3 rescue missions are setting the bar

Building a strong digital foundation for your rescue mission is essential for unlocking your online fundraising potential. Today’s donors expect a certain level of sophistication in digital, and they will gravitate toward those organizations that provide it—including cause-driven corporations.

As I wrote in my previous blog post, each organization must take its own path toward a more mature program. This starts with assessing where you are in aspects like your tech stack, online stewardship efforts and use of digital media.

In this post, I’d like to highlight a few life transformation ministries that are getting it right when it comes to these areas of digital growth.

Denver Rescue Mission leans into automation, segmentation

I’m always impressed by nonprofit organizations who have taken the time and effort to invest in long-term growth. Denver Rescue Mission is a great example of this when it comes to digital marketing and fundraising.

Denver Rescue Mission has a strong tech stack that allows them to gather a wealth of first-party data that they use to drive their sophisticated email program.

Their donors are segmented by lifecycle, email engagement activity and relational giving status. Denver Rescue Mission’s team has put a lot of time and thought into defining their segments, and they are constantly finding ways to deliver more customized messaging to those segments.

They have an automated welcome series for new online donors, and below is an example of a four-part lapsed reactivation email that will be sent when a donor has gone 13+ months since their last gift.

DRM lapsed series

The first two emails above remind the donor of the difference they made and urge them to renew their gift. The third email features a donor record to prompt re-engagement through a suggested donation amount, and the final email asks them to take a quick survey for future communication preferences.

And Denver Rescue Mission isn’t stopping there. They have continued to test and build out new strategies as they push deeper into audience segmentation.

Haven of Rest Ministries showcases stewardship

For organizations with smaller budgets, staring down the vast possibilities of digital marketing can sometimes seem daunting. But it’s critical to remember that digital growth is a spectrum. Your goal should be to determine where you are now and find ways to move forward.

Haven of Rest Ministries was concerned about how often they were emailing donors and asking for support. So, now their email cadence incorporates a mix of e-appeals and stewardship to provide a better balance of communications with donors.

Here is an example of a stewardship email from this Easter:

HAVRM Easter Stewardship

Yes, there is a “Give Now” button in case any recipient feels moved to donate. But notice that there is no appeal, no ask for a gift in the copy—just gratitude for the donor’s support and prayers.

City Gospel Mission invests in evergreen media

As you move along the growth spectrum, a greater investment in digital media is essential. Despite some challenges in attribution due to new privacy regulations, we know digital media is effective in driving online giving.

You can begin your foray into media with campaign-specific ads that focus on conversions, but you will want to move toward an evergreen strategy with a mix of prospecting and conversion ads running all year long.

From there, you can continue to layer in new channels and ad types, as City Gospel Mission has done.

The video below is used in Facebook ads and pre-roll video. By highlighting the work City Gospel Mission does, this video ad boosts their brand presence in the Cincinnati community:

This video is a top-of-funnel ad for donor prospects who are unaware of City Gospel Mission. As the donor’s awareness grows, they will move down the funnel to ads that aim to increase engagement and eventually convert to a donation (read more here).

The investment in evergreen media has grown City Gospel Mission’s overall digital program, and it has increased their ability to speak to a wider audience.


In today's dynamic digital landscape, the integration of effective online strategies is crucial for rescue missions aiming to maximize their fundraising efforts. Denver Rescue Mission's advanced tech stack and email segmentation, Haven of Rest Ministries' emphasis on stewardship and City Gospel Mission's use of evergreen media highlight the diversity of pathways toward digital maturity.

While each organization has its unique approach, the overarching theme remains consistent: recognizing where you stand and continuously pushing the boundaries to foster growth and deepen donor relationships.

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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