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Why evergreen media campaigns are a smart investment for nonprofits

In nonprofit fundraising, campaigns that are tied to a specific time period are common. GivingTuesday is the most prominent example, but match campaigns, anniversaries and seasonal offers all have an expiration at some point.

In contrast, evergreen campaigns feature content designed to remain relevant over a long period of time. In digital media, this “always on” messaging typically runs for a full year.

From time to time, I get asked whether evergreen campaigns are really worth the investment. And the answer is a resounding “yes!”

In this blog post, I’ll review the key advantages of evergreen campaigns and share some examples of their success.

Advantages of evergreen media campaigns for nonprofits

Evergreen campaigns offer several advantages to enhance a nonprofit organization's reach and impact. Here are a few to consider:

Long-term impact

While timely campaigns may have short-term benefits, evergreen ads focus on long-term impact. They build relationships with your audience over time, nurturing trust and loyalty.

RKD research shows that higher levels of trust lead to higher lifetime donor values. Thus, an effective evergreen campaign will cultivate a supporter base that is more likely to engage and donate over time. Just be sure to use messaging that will remain relevant all year and align with your organization’s goals and values.

Brand recognition

Even if people do not immediately interact with your evergreen ad, the repeated exposure helps to reinforce your organization’s mission and presence in their minds. By avoiding frequent changes to the core content, your organization can build a cohesive and compelling narrative that resonates with your audience over time.

This consistent visibility can gradually build familiarity, making it more likely that the audience will consider giving to your organization when the time is right. Essentially, evergreen campaigns keep your nonprofit's brand top of mind and establish your credibility.

Optimization and machine learning

One of the most significant advantages of evergreen campaigns lies in their ability to improve over time through optimization and machine learning.

As evergreen campaigns run over time, algorithms gather valuable data on audience interactions. This data allows the algorithms to identify high-performing segments and adjust targeting parameters to maximize conversions.

That means the longer an evergreen campaign is active, the more refined and effective it becomes. That leads to better performance, a lower CPA (cost per acquisition/donation) and a higher return on investment. This leads to a more efficient use of your advertising budget and a greater impact from your digital marketing efforts.

Examples of evergreen media performance for nonprofits

Below are examples from two organizations that we partner with that show the benefits of evergreen ads. I chose evergreen campaigns that have been running for six months or more to reap the most from the advantages listed earlier in this post.

PanCAN evergreen

This chart shows the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s evergreen campaign across six months. As you can see, the longer it goes, the more efficient it becomes. The CPA rate continues to go down as more and more donations pile up.

LCIF evergreen

The Lions Clubs International Foundation saw a similar efficiency in their evergreen ads. Over time, the campaign became more efficient with a lower CPA and increased donations.

Note that the CPA went up and donations went down in December and January. That’s because LCIF shifted some of their budget toward year-end giving, and competition increased in the media space during the busy holiday season.

For both organizations, success can be attributed to the continuous optimization through algorithms, building long-term relationships with donors and lifting brand awareness over time. By committing to consistent evergreen content, you can ensure that your digital presence remains impactful and effective throughout the year.

Nicole Daily

Nicole Daily is a digital media strategist at RKD Group. She is an expert on digital media audience and performance with more than six years of digital media campaign experience. Nicole couples strategy with ongoing optimization, helping translate the complicated digital world into actionable insights. She makes sure nonprofits' digital media targeting is spot-on, specifically for using social media as a marketing channel.


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