Crowdfunding is booming. Anyone who’s been on social media in the past few years has seen campaigns that aim to raise money for everything from a new car to a trip to Europe. But one company is trying to flip the script. YouCaring’s goal is to leverage their crowdfunding platform to help connect people with the causes they care about the most. We sat down with Jesse Boland, Director of Online Marketing at YouCaring, to discuss how he is able to use digital marketing to impact change and do good for communities around the world.
AdRoll: Tell us about your role at YouCaring.
Jesse: I’m the director of online marketing. My team handles all of our digital marketing, focusing on SEO, SEM, PR, email, and video. I’m lucky enough to lead a very scrappy, smart, and motivated team of amazing people who always go above and beyond to deliver the YouCaring mission to our members.
AdRoll: What’s the mission at YouCaring?
Jesse: Kindness is powerful. You can do well in business while doing good for the community. Compassion drives us to build the brand and business. Just like our members, we operate solely on optional donations—as a company, we really try to “eat our own dog food.” I’m surrounded by amazing people who all buy into the mission. It’s difficult to see the tragic stories of the people on our site and not be moved to help. We get to do that every day because, every day, something good happens to someone who will come to us in search of help.
AdRoll: What drove you to a company focused on compassionate crowdfunding? How did this fit in with your personal and professional goals?
Jesse: I’d say this job found me. I knew a girl who knew a guy, who, it turned out, is the president of YouCaring (thanks, Carolyn). Professionally, YouCaring allows me to wake up every morning and work at something I love: work in the amazingly complex world of digital marketing and, as an added bonus, our product has a huge positive impact on thousands of people’s lives. Personally, I’m surrounded by people I love and respect. It doesn’t get much better than that.
AdRoll: What AdRoll products do you currently use?
Jesse: Does AdRoll have any products we don’t use? We use SendRoll, Prospecting, and Retargeting.
AdRoll: What prompted you to use AdRoll?
Jesse: I felt like AdRoll would help us solve the complex problem we had of people dropping off the site before starting a fundraiser. So I tested it with a very small budget, with very limited results. Then, I realized I was being shortsighted—I wanted to be diligent and to really understand the impact of AdRoll and how we could partner to help YouCaring grow.
AdRoll: Tell us about your marketing goals. How do you differentiate yourself in the crowdfunding market?
Jesse: Our goal is to continue to grow by spreading our message efficiently and effectively through as many online and offline channels as we can. There is a financial crisis in the world right now and we see real stories every single day of good people who have lost everything. Crowdfunding is a powerful way for individuals to tap into the power of their network and get the word out. Our business model provides an effective way to continue to spread the word that it’s free for people to raise money on our site. It doesn’t make sense to choose another crowdfunding platform, because we give you a better experience and better support in all phases of your campaign, and (by the way) we don’t take money from the funds you raise.
AdRoll: What are the results you’ve seen since implementing AdRoll’s products? (Such as improved customer acquisition or higher return customer rate.)
Jesse: We have decreased our costs per acquisition (CPAs) significantly, we have been able to expand our brand presence by repeatedly (and tastefully) getting our brand in front of people who didn’t take action on their first visit to the site. By delivering our message repeatedly to our best potential members, we distill more value from every session to the site.
AdRoll: Can you name one or two key takeaways you’ve learned since utilizing AdRoll’s products?
Jesse: Firstly, view-through conversions (VTCs) are more powerful than many folks give them credit for. I was skeptical of VTC. We can clearly see the impact of VTC in our data.
Secondly, it’s important to give AdRoll enough budget to prove itself worthy or unworthy to your business. I started too small when we first tested, so it’s important to get a significant sample size prior to making a decision. Once you have the data, you need to make a decision. Segment as much as possible, pay attention to the message you’re putting in front of which customers, and focus on success.
AdRoll: What was the hardest marketing challenge you faced this year as a marketer for a humanitarian organization?
Jesse: Proving a real return on ad spend (ROAS) on our marketing dollars—getting clarity on why one fundraising campaign does better than another, and spending intelligently to acquire more of those types of users was the hardest nut to crack. Our business is unique, we’re not selling widgets, and there’s a true human variable to whether one fundraiser succeeds and another fails. On the surface, it’s not always clear why. AdRoll has allowed us to find more of, and focus on, our most valuable users so we can help more people.
AdRoll: How do you measure the success of your marketing campaigns? What do you attribute the success to?
Jesse: We are constantly seeking to start fundraisers that have a good chance at success. The more we focus on unifying our messaging across all of our channels, the more we see the results in our key performance indicators (KPIs). 2017 will be a year of maturation for us as a business and marketing team, and we have the key people and technologies in place to continue to grow.
This content was originally published here.