Ohio enjoys 75 state parks, from the shores of Lake Erie to the waters of the great Ohio River, and they are among the most treasured places in the state. Powerful outlets for recreation and wellness, the parks attract millions of visitors each year. The Ohio State Parks Foundation (OSPF) was formed to protect and enhance these scenic landscapes and to advocate for their future.
Created in April 2021 by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the OSPF was introduced to the public through a press release, without any other communication or brand building. Fast forward to Fall 2021, and the OSPF leadership team was interested in executing a Giving Tuesday campaign but was not sure how to get started. That’s when they contacted MJ2 Marketing.
The MJ2 team developed an email campaign that began with a message from ODNR again announcing the OSPF and then proceeded with a 5 Reasons to Give $25 theme throughout the holidays. As part of the campaign, Former Governor Bob Taft participated in a video message, while members of the OSPF Board shared a personally written message on behalf of the Foundation that was also shared in both the email campaign and on social media. In addition to the email campaign, MJ2 managed a Facebook and Instagram ad campaign targeted at park enthusiasts as well as an organic social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram.
The primary goal of the campaign was to run a #GivingTuesday campaign, but the project evolved into an end-of-year giving campaign and brand awareness component. In regards to both generating awareness and monetary donations, the campaign was a success.
The email campaign was very successful, with open rates that crushed the industry average of 25.7% for nonprofit organizations. The series of seven emails ultimately sent more than 8,000 people to OSPF digital properties, including the OSPF Fund page on the Columbus Foundation website during the first half of the campaign, and the PayPal donation page during the second half of the campaign. To streamline the charitable giving process, MJ2 recommended utilizing the PayPal platform mid-way through the campaign to encourage greater giving.
Facebook and Instagram Ad Campaign
The Facebook ad performance exceeded expectations for simultaneous brand awareness and give campaigns. In all, the ads resulted in more than 1,500 visits to the OSPF digital properties, garnered 2,169 engagements on the Facebook page, and reached a total of 53,855 people.
The integrated campaign for OSPF generated nearly $20,000 in about a month – a steep number considering there was no prior awareness of the organization.