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Keeping Nonprofit Messaging Relevant with Dynamic Creative Optimization and Personalized Video

Like anyone else, many nonprofit constituents are overwhelmed by the current state of the world. As a result, some of our best fundraising tools, such as in-person events, are no longer viable. In order for nonprofits to succeed in these difficult times, they must adopt new strategies and tools to ensure that each engagement they have with each individual constituent is hyper-relevant to that constituent’s needs.

Ensuring hyper-relevance requires organizations to embrace two critical strategies:

  1. Define the Right Message:  Defining the right message for each individual audience is crucial to fostering relationships and raising funds.
  2. Quickly Understand What’s Working: No one has been through anything like our new reality, so no one will know exactly how to raise money during it. Organizations need the capability to test and learn quickly and confidently.

Two Tools to Achieve Hyper-Relevance

Achieving hyper-relevance requires embracing new digital tools to reach constituents in their homes with speed and impact. Dynamic Creative Optimization and Personalized Video both offer the opportunity to define the right message for each individual and quickly understand what is working and what is not.

Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO)

DCO enables real-time personalization and testing at a low entry cost. The below illustration demonstrates how DCO leverages a combination of templates and elements.


Using DCO requires a shift in thinking between two worlds; the world of templates, and the world of elements.

As an analogy, think of the template as the house, and the elements as the furniture. In real life, you would design the house first and bring the furniture in later. However, in the DCO world, you decide what pieces of furniture you want and then build your house around them. Start with a single template across multiple audiences and then use multiple elements to distribute ad variations for each audience.


This structure activates creative personalization in each and every audience. Fundraisers can select the elements based on a given audience [i.e. monthly donors, event participants], on-site browsing behavior or even on real-time environment data [i.e. weather, location] to serve the most relevant creative for each constituent.

Next, DCO enables the execution of a structured test and learn roadmap in real-time, allowing us to develop a series of potential offers and a few approaches to messaging each offer. The DCO platform can be used to set statistical parameters and remove underperforming ads, for each audience, in real-time. This approach ensures that no impressions are wasted on losing creative and it quickly learns what is working in this ever-changing world.

Personalized Video

Video takes personalization to the next level and serves as a reasonable replacement for in-person interactions. Personalized video tools use data signals to develop videos in real-time to drive personalization and motivate behavior. There are four types of video that nonprofits can leverage on site, in emails, or even in digital media:

  • Contextual: The entry-level personalized video uses data and if/then logic to drive topic selection. They are best used in education content like newsletters or activity reminders.
  • Dynamic: These videos use behavior-data [like someone abandoning a donation page] to enable relevant, but non-individualized messaging. They are best used in paid media and social channels.
  • Individualized: These videos use individual data and if/then logic to select specific scenes, put those scenes in a particular order, and add personal info [i.e. “Hi Chris, thank you for your $200 donation last year”]. They are best used to drive higher or more complex asks.
  • Interactive: These videos enable the viewer to alter and / or personalize the experience based on their inputs.  They are best used with engaged constituents actively seeking to help.

The below storyboard demonstrates how interactivity and individual video types can be combined to create a truly unique online event invite:


The “new normal” requires a degree of compassion and a focus on relationships from each of us.  Constituents will expect the same from their nonprofit organizations. They will select a more limited number of organizations to support based on those organizations’ ability to be relevant to their needs. To meet that need, nonprofits will need to look for new tools to drive personalization and rapid learning.

Want to learn more? Check out the other blogs in this series here.