Launching a Grassroots Giving Platform
pledged to nonprofits in the first two months
Groundswell came to CauseMic for the comprehensive team they’d need to get their grassroots giving platform off the ground on schedule. Groundswell is an app that enables anyone to be a strategic philanthropist through a tax-advantaged personal giving account modeled after the traditional donor-advised fund (DAF), which allows users to do all their philanthropy under one roof, including researching causes and charities and setting auto-recurring deposits and donations. They also offer a corporate platform for employee giving programs.
Like most startup companies and organizations, Groundswell had limited internal capacity for marketing and brand awareness campaigns around the launch of their app and enterprise platform.
They faced another challenge in developing content strategies and messaging for two core customer audiences—individual donors and corporate HR teams.
At a Glance
The mountain-top view of our work
CauseMic developed a launch strategy to welcome and guide people when they sign up for the Groundswell app. The vehicles: Email and organic social media.
Groundswell’s product required a certain amount of education, which meant any automated email series had to account for meeting the user at the exact right moment in their journey (after they download the app and sign up) in order to encourage them to complete any next steps. But, as people are often concerned about sharing their bank account, we had our work cut out for us.
Meanwhile, a new startup is going to need brand awareness and a digital footprint.
We quickly got to work on a two-pronged content strategy that focused on positioning Groundswell as thought leaders in a movement empowering causes as well as corporate philanthropy through a new kind of employee benefit.
Email marketing strategy
Email user journeys
Brand positioning and messaging
If you are considering what next steps to take to grow your nonprofit, book a strategy session with CauseMic to explore what it would take to reach your full potential.
Both CauseMic and Groundswell were eager to hit the ground running. Among the sizable challenges ahead of us was the overarching dilemma that any new brand entering a market will face: No one knows who the heck you are or what you do.
Launching Groundswell required overcoming the following challenges:
- Donors are used to giving one way, including directly to nonprofits via their mobile device. How do we communicate Groundswell’s multi-faceted product benefits and convince them to switch and donate through the personal giving platform?
- How do we (a) welcome new Groundswell users and introduce app features in a digestible way, and (b) encourage them to connect their bank accounts—the first conversion point and a potentially high hurdle due to security concerns.
- What kind of content can we share across all digital channels to attract and engage two unique audiences—individual donors and corporate teams—from a relatively unknown brand entering the scene?
And this is how we solved those challenges.
- We took a complex benefit for individual donors and distilled it down to three key messages focused on simplifying the donation experience, building a strategy, and gaining tax-advantages.
For example, when talking about simplicity, we might say: “Your one-stop-spot for all your philanthropy. Research, discover, and donate all in one place.” For building a strategy: “Become a more strategic philanthropist.” And for tax advantages, we made sure to mention the single tax receipt: “No more inbox diving for your donation receipts. At the end of the year, you’ll get one, tax receipt for all of your donations.”
- We welcomed new users by telling the story of Groundswell—a movement motivated by the need to get more urgent funding to nonprofits and provide access to an affordable donor-advised fund for all—and used clear, simple, and consistent messaging to keep users engaged.
In a marathon race to conversion, emails can serve as a cheering crowd at each mile marker. For Groundswell users who completed a previous step, like connecting a bank account, they automatically received another email congratulating them and prompting them on to the next step. Throughout, we continued the reminder of empowering positive change being one step closer.
Each email in the series also included a special security call-out and link to more information, alleviating security concerns about connecting a bank account that might keep users from converting.
- As Groundswell was an up-and-coming brand, we wanted to make a notable impression across their preferred social media channels, including posting on Groundswell’s CEO and founder’s personal accounts with an already established audience.
CauseMic helped develop their digital brand voice that struck a balance between cause activist and corporate HR expert.
Our overall content strategy championed causes by highlighting important cause dates, awareness months, and high-priority needs, such as the refugee crisis in Ukraine.
To target corporate leads for Groundswells enterprise platform, we joined conversations around hiring/retention and employee benefits.
At CauseMic, we speak the language of nonprofits and social-impact missions, and for Groundswell we were ready to get to work. In the first two months, Groundswell users pledged over $750,000 to nonprofits through their new Personal Giving Accounts.
We quickly filled a marketing capacity gap for a startup organization that, like most, had very limited staff to run marketing operations critical for launch. The resources to hire and onboard a full marketing team before the product even launches, with limited funding, are often unavailable.
As of spring 2022, the initial email welcome series began re-engaging new users who had not completed each step of the conversion journey post sign-up and has consistently converted around 3.5% of users who go on to donate. (Compare that to an ecommerce industry retargeting average of 1%.)
Through the first four months of launch, CauseMic took over Groundswell’s social media accounts, drafting, designing, and posting on a schedule of 15 or more posts a week across all of their channels. This influx in overall content helped drive an increase in app sign-ups for companies looking to start an impactful employee giving program through Groundswell.
Pledged to nonprofits
Donation conversion rate