Global NGO Fundraising Case Study: 

Raising Funds During a Pandemic

❝ We have been running the Ramadan campaign for the past six years, for Asia, ADA managed to drive significant growth across the region. ADA also provided us with smart audience targeting strategies, locally relevant multi-channel media plans, support on content creation including video, and an influencer campaign that was pivotal to the success of increasing awareness during Ramadan.❞


The Scope

The client, a Global Refugee Agency, runs a global Ramadan fundraising campaign to engage the public and raise funds towards the plight of refugees. The campaign encouraged people to ‘Imagine’ themselves in refugee situations and to show their support during the holy month of Ramadan

This year, their Ramadan fundraising campaign coincided with the peak of COVID-19.

The Challenge

The challenges were 2-fold:
  • Inability to reach target audiences due to lockdowns, which prevented geo-targeting those visiting places of large gatherings especially during the COVID-19 period.
  • Sudden surge of other NGO fundraising efforts, especially local charities.

The ADA Approach

Consumer behaviour had shifted drastically because of the pandemic. We quickly pivoted our strategy to meet their changing behaviour. Combining current audience behavioural insights, social buzz and past Ramadan insights, we devised a targeting strategy that allowed us to reach the targeted audiences online and glocalised the campaign to inspire and inject a sense of motivation and energy among the public towards the refugee cause and drove audiences to take action.

An ‘old-meets-new’ targeting strategy, based off our propriety data management platform, XACT. This allowed us to reach a specific audience who would otherwise have been almost impossible to identify 

Infused local flavour into the global fundraising campaign to tug at the communities’ heart strings and purses.  

The challenges we faced were direct results of the drastic change in consumer behaviour brought by COVID-19. So we dove deep into these shifts and looked at past Ramadan insights to formulate our strategy.    

Chart 1: XACT data of traffic visiting mosques during the pandemic

Chart 2: XACT data of religious app usage

Chart 3: Google search trends during the lockdowns

We saw the increase in religious app usage and online search correlating to the dip in Mosque footfall as consumers sourced for alternative prayer channels. 

Chart 4: XACT data of Crisis Personas and their app usage change during lockdown

On top of religious channels, consumers were turning to social, news content to stay updated on latest developments. With restricted movement, they relied on online shopping to prep for fasting and Hari Raya celebrations. Entertainment was also a source of relief to them during this highly stressful period. It was imperative to tap onto all high affinity and intent outlets to reach them. 

  • Past data 
    • Past footfall data is rich in terms of quality and quantity. With Xact, we extracted a combination of pre-COVID 19 audience seen at schools coupled with top religious and Ramadan app usage. This unique approach lent us a rich, quality base of audiences who would have been impossible to identify any other way. We were able to tap onto a previously offline target segment who are now online. 
    • Tapping onto the brand’s owned data, we created lookalike audiences of past donors and past Ramadan donors.
  • Current data 
    • We created broader audience segments based on their trending interest in social, entertainment, shopping such as “cooking, recipes, shopping, baking“. We knew families tend to cook and bake during Ramadan, and COVID-19 exacerbated this behaviour.
    • To minimise wastage, we deployed affinity audiences e.g. interested in Zakat, Hari Raya, Islam, Ramadan related keywords and behaviour.
Based on our audience insights of past Ramadan patterns, we carefully optimised our execution to coincide with peaks in audience behaviour, which has gotten us unprecedented results!


1. Getting share of wallet  

Our client was going up against global as well as local charity organisations this Ramadan. Local NGOs had the upper hand as their community ties were strong We tapped onto social listening. And saw a vast increase in influencers conversing on Ramadan in the current climate.    

Chart 1: ADA’s Social Media Listening Tool data on influencers during Ramadan

We saw an opportunity to leverage on the social prowess of influencers. We coupled this with glocalisedcampaign – leveraging local channels and personalities, with local messaging that would bring the refugees’ plight closer to home through storytelling.  


1. Storytelling  

Our central creative theme was “Imagine”. We wanted to showcase the daily realities of refugees through powerful messages: “Imagine a country without people, imagine a mosque without prayers, imagine an Iftar without gatherings”.  

The strong relevance to Ramadan hit home for the target segment, triggering them to imagine and feel what refuges have been subjected to most of their lives.  


2. Local channels  

Working with partners like HHWT (Have Halal Will Travel) and MIN (Muslim Influencers Agency), we harvested their strong influence and understanding of certain cultures. Riding on the same storytelling angle, HHWT crafted content pieces based off the refugees’ plights for their readers and amplified through their social channels.  


3. Local personalities   

With MIN, we handpicked influencers that were known for their strong local community ties and philanthropy efforts to drive our cause. Their brief was similar, appeal to their followers through “Imagine” storytelling. Instagram stories and videos of the influencers sharing what Ramadan looks like without their generosity tugged at heart strings and wallets.  


Our local initiatives were an impetus for donors to open up their wallets to the refugees.  

The Campaign

Ramadan fund raising is time sensitive campaign . There’s a short 6-week window of opportunity thus scheduling optimisation is pivotal to driving optimal results. We relied heavily on consumer insights for budget, content and objective deployment.


Our scheduling was based on Ramadan consumer behaviours and past Ramadan learnings.

Chart 6: Imagine Ramadan Campaign Timeline


  • Pre-Ramadan, 2 weeks: launched with the hero video “Imagine” for awareness, prospecting and ensure momentum by the time Ramadan came.
  • Start of Ramadan, 2 weeks: conversion content and acquisition objectives kicked in.
  • End of Ramadan, 2 weeks: this is when gifting and ‘zakat’ (form of alms-giving) pick up momentum. We scaled up acquisition with strong re-targeting efforts & budget. For local personalities specifically, we orchestrated their posts to appear in conjunction with Laylatul-Qadr or ‘Night of Destiny’, the best day of the year in the Muslim calendar according to the Quran and the best time for us to amplify our conversion efforts.


Paired with bespoke creatives and calls-to-action at each stage, every day was fully optimised for donations.

The Outcome


Overall donations exceeded target by 37%


An overall whopping 68% uplift in ROI

*2.5 times above target


Overall Cost Per Acquisition reduced by 273%



87% positive sentiments from influencers’ community

*Calculated based on number of comments in relation to negative comments