How Seva Canada Grew Online Revenue 53%

Background and Client

Seva Canada is a Vancouver-based charitable organization whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world.

Why We Were Hired

Seva had a pretty stable annual fund program - direct mail, online, and monthly giving - but were looking for some new ideas to stay current and keep growing, especially when it came to integrated their offline work to bring it online.

I really appreciated Shift’s modern approach to something old-school like print fundraising, finding ways to enhance this critical element of a development program while also shifting things online. They were always looking for ways to help us reduce costs, which is great, and were just really fun to work with!
— Liz Brant, Development Director*

* Liz left in the Summer of 2016 and Shift helped Seva find their new and current Development Director

The Results

  • Online revenue grew 53%
  • Online donations grew 54%
  • Website traffic grew 107%
  • Increased year end campaign online revenue 70%
  • Increased Gift of Sight (gift catalogue) online revenue 171%
  • Increased year end campaign online donor acquisition 47%

Seva Canada Online Revenue and Traffic - 2015 vs. 2016

What We Did and How It Helped

After being around for Seva’s Gift of Sight catalogue and helping execute Seva’s 2015 year end campaign, both largely focused on print and offline, we saw a lot of opportunity to do more online. The focus of 2016 was to increase and improve the quality of traffic (largely through the Google Ad Grant), increase conversion by pointing people to more specific, clear, and compelling landing pages, and increase email volume while organically growing their email list.


After seeing some encouraging results with Facebook Ads for their Spring campaign (15 donors and positive ROI) we suggested Seva invest more of their marketing and acquisition budget into Facebook Ads for the fall through their Gift of Sight and Year End campaigns. We used a combination of acquisition audiences (based on website visitors not on Seva’s email list, key interests, etc.) and a retargeting audiences (Seva email subscribers, donation page visitors, etc.) and created 6 different ads and A/B tested adjusting ads and spend based on results as the campaign progressed.

We also created a Gift of Sight focused campaign using the Google Ad Grant AdWords account to drive more traffic interested in giving gifts to the new, streamlined, and simpler landing page. Other AdWords campaign and traffic was optimized for donations by adjusting budget spend per day on donation focused campaigns (as opposed to awareness campaigns) with an emphasis on ads with ‘kids’ language (the focus of the year end campaign).


In our audit, we noticed that Seva was not sending enough email communication to their supporters throughout the year (not just ask emails) and moved to a monthly email schedule with some stories, content, and event invites mixed in with fundraising campaigns to keep engagement high and supporters more informed.

We also helped move Seva from a different email service provider to our preferred tool, MailChimp, to improve the design and user experience while also creating some automation workflows - like an email Welcome Series. We also created a custom Seva email template to better showcase their beautiful photos and brand in non-solicitation emails.


Because of the various gift options required, Seva’s current donation has quite a few steps and requires too many clicks (in our opinion) but without changing the tool the use we focused on how to make the first part of the experience better in hopes to increase the conversion rate.

For campaigns, this meant creating a dedicated landing page (which Seva did on their own, in their website template, with our guidance) that reflected the key messages, story, and ask from the direct mail appeal. We also used this dedicated page for ads and social media posts.

Seva has a great Gift of Sight catalogue but the online component of it had room to improve (and still does). After doing a condensed digital audit on their Gift of Sight/gift catalogue program, the biggest suggestion was to create a simpler, more specific, and easier to navigate landing page for online and mailed catalogue recipients to purchase gifts and make donations.



We'd love to hear from you and see how we can help build and grow your digital fundraising.