Ducks Unlimited Canada Increases Subscribers and Donations with ActiveCampaign

two ducks quack at each other in front of a pond


email subscriber growth monthly


increase in open rate since implementing ActiveCampaign


increased click through rate

The Challenge

  • Previous solution was not user-friendly and required developer resources
  • Less targeted communication led to high unsubscribe rates
  • Difficulty converting one-time gifts to monthly donations

The Solution

  • User-friendly automation builder gives the team the power to quickly implement and iterate automation strategies
  • Personalized communication through tagging, segmentation, and conditional content led to 10% monthly subscriber growth
  • Using donor information from CRM and ActiveCampaign, emails were targeted to donors with the right messaging based on donation level and status, leading to an increase in conversions to monthly donors
ActiveCampaign has really helped with deepening our relationships with our community and understanding how people are engaging with us. all these tags and triggers help us build a bigger picture in a much more multidimensional way than we ever have before.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is a nonprofit based in Manitoba, Canada with the mission to conserve, restore and manage wetlands...

Company Size
500+ employees
ActiveCampaign for Marketing

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is a nonprofit based in Manitoba, Canada with the mission to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for the benefit of North America’s waterfowl. They have successfully built a passionate community of like-minded individuals through impactful conservation efforts and engaging thought leadership helping people understand the importance of wetland preservation. 

As a non-profit, DUC depends heavily on donations from its community. While DUC has a huge audience, converting those people to active donors remains a main driver of marketing efforts. Elizabeth Ouimet, DUC’s Database Marketing and Analytics Manager, was brought in three years ago during a period of major business transformation. 

The organization was migrating from old on-premise enterprise software to a more modern software environment with the tools it needed. That included a new CRM and email automation platform. “As a result of that transformation, the visibility of our data just increased so much. Suddenly we could see everything that was going on,” Elizabeth says. 

Young volunteers smiling while cleaning up wetlands

Conserving and growing an audience with easy-to-use tools

Initially, DUC chose an email marketing platform that ended up being difficult to use. “We were finding with the new tool that we had that it was quite robust but it was very difficult for someone with a marketing and software-oriented skill set to really leverage. It was very developer friendly, but we didn’t have the resources for that in-house.” 

Even simple tasks proved to be challenging for the team. “We were trying to do things like segment our lists and you know automate some of our marketing flows and it was just such a challenge,” Elizabeth shares. “We’d understand what we wanted to do but actually making it happen was next to impossible and we were making no progress.”

With that setup, DUC had some key issues they needed to solve:

  • losing subscribers due to generic emails
  • struggling to see the impact their emails were having
  • didn’t know enough about their audience to segment and target communication more effectively. 

They knew they needed a change, and began looking for a new solution. “ActiveCampaign looked like a really good option for us because it had all of the automation tools that we were realizing we needed, but in a format that was powerful enough for us to achieve our goals while still being accessible for the team that we had and the skills that we had in-house.”

A scenic wetland landscape at sunset

Personalized communication keeps duck lovers coming back for more

DUC’s main marketing goals include growing its subscriber list to increase visibility and increasing donations from their community. With the powerful-yet-user-friendly automation capabilities of ActiveCampaign, Elizabeth has been able to get to know DUC’s audience more personally and deliver more relevant and interesting content to them. 

One key way they’ve done that is by revamping their subscription flows in ActiveCampaign. Previously, DUC’s unsubscribe flow was all-or-nothing. Now, subscribers can choose different categories to opt out of while still receiving what interests them. “We’re managing to retain people because they’re telling us more granular information about what they want to receive. So now instead of just unsubscribing altogether because they’re tired of seeing event invitations, they can still get our newsletter, or still get the occasional fundraising offer or something like that.” 

As a result, not only has DUC been able to retain more subscribers, but is growing its list rapidly. “With all these automation tools we’ve just been growing like crazy,” Elizabeth says. 

9ej2sq18 donationsitetracking

Growing donations to keep conservation efforts rolling

In addition to growing its audience, DUC is using ActiveCampaign tags, segmentation, and automations to increase donations from their highly-engaged community. According to Elizabeth, they are seeing better-than-ever returns on branded fundraising campaigns. 

Thanks to ActiveCampaign’s many integrations, DUC has set up a dynamic ecosystem where information automatically flows between apps like Typeform and Salesforce back to ActiveCampaign, adding tags and segmenting audiences based on their interests. “We’re putting the right message in front of the right people. It allows us to better predict what people are going to be interested in, we’re serving content that they really like and then they’re going to engage with us in more valuable ways that we want to move along the customer journey with us. So  it’s really helped with deepening our relationships and understanding about how people are engaging with us because all these tags and triggers help us build that bigger picture in a more multidimensional way than we ever have before.”

Quacking the code for more monthly donors

The team at DUC is also focused on converting one-time donors to monthly donors. “It was important for us to be able to have the right information coming over from our CRM system about their current status as a donor. That way, we could add the right triggers in ActiveCampaign to be able to either send dynamic content that’s got the right call to action or if it’s an automation know what that trigger point is to drop them into the journey that is appropriate for them so that the call to action is well received.” 

Some important data points built into this automation include donor status, frequency of donation, time since last donation, and total donation amount. Using a combination of these factors dynamic content is sent to speak to a donor in a personalized way. DUC is able to send information on impactful projects close to a participant’s home, which gives donors the ability to see the impact of their donations. 

DUC also promotes the value and benefits that come with becoming a monthly donor at various donation tiers. This extends beyond email marketing to social promotions thanks to ActiveCampaign’s Facebook Audience integration. Depending on a contact’s engagement and interest, they are automatically included or excluded from targeted social campaigns.

Three people in a row boat on a pond surrounded by reeds

Success on all waterfronts

As a result of personalizing their communication and sending the right message at the right time, DUC has seen impressive results. For starters, while they were losing subscribers at a rate of around .5% per month before implementing these changes, their subscriber list is now growing by 10% monthly. 

On top of a growing subscriber base, email open rates have increased by 20-40% across their different audiences. Beyond opens, click-through rates have more than doubled. Elizabeth shares that this success is just the beginning, and that her team is still working on unlocking the full potential of ActiveCampaign. 
If you’re a non-profit looking to grow your audience and increase donations from your community, start a free 14-day trial and see how ActiveCampaign’s automation can help!

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