FYI Blog

National Museum of African American History and Culture – Successful Online List Building


Creating a multi-channel fundraising program for a Museum that members cannot yet visit presents a unique set of challenges. A targeted, multi-channel approach is the key to getting prospects to support this remarkably important addition to the National Mall.

Challenge: Avalon partnered with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to build a file of Charter Members throughout the Museum’s construction and grand opening phases. As part of the Museum’s goal of attracting loyal and valuable multi-channel donors, we were tasked with expanding the Museum’s file of online donors and supporters.

Strategy: Avalon approached online list building from two angles. First, in 2015 we initiated a Membership Month campaign to recruit online members with a mission-based case for support for this critically important Museum. Next, after the success of Membership Month, we created an online list-building campaign through carefully targeted online advertising via remarketing and Facebook ads, as well as petition campaigns through Care2 and to engage and sign up new online supporters.

Results: The online list-building campaign was a tremendous success for NMAAHC—and ultimately over 10,000 people took action as a result. The remarketing program had click-through rates well above industry averages and targeted list-building ads that appeared on CNN, Huffington Post, Instagram, and Radar Online, to name a few. Notably, the remarketing and Facebook ad campaign delivered a cost per acquisition (CPA) that returned its investment in just six months, thanks to an integrated follow-up strategy designed to generate additional actions and added gifts.

We continue to work with NMAAHC to engage members across multiple communications channels to further bond members to the Museum, telling stories of what their support has accomplished, and the opportunities for continued partnership that lie ahead.