Personalize Your NFP Ad Creative: Not for Profit Transformation Series

This is the fourth article in our eight-part series dedicated to helping NFPs develop data-driven marketing and advertising strategies to drive sustained donation growth.

December 17, 2021

Learn more about creating personalized campaigns, using programmatic advertising as an example.

So far in our NFP series, we discussed how a strong first-party data strategy will allow your NFP to group existing core audiences by implicit or explicit signals into logical interest groups or “initiatives,” and how your internal or agency Media teams can upload these segmented audiences into their media platforms for search, display, social and other digital platforms, and execute personalized advertising that over time will increase your donation volumes by up to 50%.

Because DELVE manages in excess of $150 million in digital advertising per year, we find that such “personalized advertising” programs quickly run into one limitation—Creative. When an NFP has many audience segments based on top interests or initiatives that an NFPs donors care most about, and when an NFP wants to execute a robust test-and-learn program to understand which creative works the hardest, production of creative at scale can become very complex and expensive.

Below we describe one approach to developing Creative, using programmatic advertising as an example.

Common Challenge: Lack of Efficient Creative Production at Scale

There are lots of articles on the importance of dynamic creative optimization (DCO). and the idea that the more relevant a message is for a given audience, the higher the likelihood of conversion (which contributes to improved CPA and ROAS). However, at a practical level, many brands (and their agencies) aren’t able to enjoy the promises of personalization-at-scale because they lack the technology or know-how (or both) to make it happen.

Creating and testing dozens of ad variations can be time consuming without an efficient production process and design templates. Further, serving those ad variants and analyzing the results can be daunting without the proper experience. Fortunately, some agencies are already ahead of the curve—but many still struggle and either avoid recommending dynamic creative to clients, or charge their clients exorbitant fees because they design the ad creative, too. 

The value of investing in dynamic creative is to improve message relevance and conversion of digital media and then applying those real-time insights to direct mail and email campaigns that are more expensive to get wrong. In the case of direct mail, “getting it wrong” (wrong message/audience) means wasted print, collation and mailing costs. In the case of email, “getting it wrong” means unsubscriptions from your core list. 

Dynamic Creative Personalization: Programmatic Advertising Example

DELVE leans on many DSPs to buy programmatic advertising for our clients. We typically like using Google’s Display & Video 360, The Trade Desk, and Amazon DSP. We believe that all of these DSPs offer unique advantages, and we suggest that most NFPs test or use all three DSPs for an effective programmatic advertising program.

The below image summarizes how DELVE approaches the creation of personalized ad creative, or DCO (Dynamic Creative Personalization), for programmatic display. You can also find more about our DCO capabilities here

The above example applies only to programmatic display media. Production of ad creative for each digital channel, such as search, social, digital radio, or cTV, has to be approached in a bespoke fashion. There is no “one size fits all” personalized ad creative solution. 

However, some tried-and-true rules apply when developing personalized ad creative across all of your digital channels:

If you’re interested in finding how DELVE can deploy personalized ad creative across all of your digital channels, reach out to our Media team at

In Summary

Nonprofits can inspire donors to give outside of their regular donation cadence. According to The Data-Backed Guide to Nonprofit Marketing, over two-thirds of donors indicate that they are more likely to give after receiving a compelling request for donations to meet a specific need. Nonprofit marketers have the potential to motivate larger or more frequent donations, but the key is to clearly communicate the specific and compelling need that your campaign(s) are trying to meet and to create urgency as to the timing.

Dynamic and personalized creative is one way to test and fine-tune specific giving requests. This allows you to “put a face on the need” to test images, copy, impact statements, and CTAs for optimal results—including testing different donation options so that donors can self-select which they prefer and this collects valuable first-party data.

When applied correctly, nonprofit marketers should see measurable results in terms of higher clickthrough rates (CTRs). While CTRs are a leading indicator of success, the ultimate success will be measured in terms of donation conversions.

In our next article, Create Personalized NFP Landing Pages, we discuss how personalized landing page messaging, aligned to your personalized ads, can deliver tangible lift in marketing and advertising performance. We also encourage you to read our NFP Manifesto as well as our latest research on reaching Millennial Donors.

Ready to get started? Contact us today at


Reaching Millennial Donors

Want to gain a deeper understanding of how and why Millennial donors 25-35 years of age give to social causes? Start with our 2021 Research Report, created in partnership with Aspen Finn.