531% Return at End of Year: A case study in consistent acquisition

Long-term nonprofit members of The Digital Co-Op are building its results-driving list-growth capabilities into their core fundraising strategy to drive results in exciting ways. Their latest takeaway?

Consistent acquisition investments throughout the year – building co-op buys into your monthly checklist, then scaling up in big moments – can power long-term growth and incredible returns.

For one nonprofit founding member of The Digital Co-Op, a steady cadence of monthly list-growth investments and increased investments during rapid response and at end-of-year helped them achieve a:

531% return on their December investment, with a full return in one week



In a fundraising climate where channel performance is shifting and results from sources like ads can vary from one month to the next, this nonprofit member achieved stability with their list and maximized their results in key moments through three strategies:

Build a cadence of consistent list-growth investments

Throughout 2023, this nonprofit co-op member consistently increased their active list size by at least 10% every month and saw these investments return within nine months to one year. By making list growth through the co-op a part of their routine and building these investments into their monthly checklist, this organization was able to consistently infuse their list with new, data-backed leads for their campaigns throughout the year.

Scale up investments during rapid response moments

As an organization that frequently responds to unfolding emergencies, this nonprofit also incorporated their co-op investment strategy into their rapid response strategy. They developed plans for low-, medium-, and high-level response scenarios for emergencies related to their mission, scaling up list-growth investment according to each tier of rapid response and remaining nimble and quick to approve response strategies in the midst of breaking news and emergency moments.

Double down on investments at end-of-year

When the busy end-of-year giving season hit, this nonprofit co-op member was ready with a plan to leverage those weeks of increased attention and response from supporters. Doubling their investment in new names in November and December over their regular monthly cadence drove incredible results – with new acquisitions during those two months drawing the strongest results of the year.

Immediately after Giving Tuesday, The Digital Co-Op’s exhaust data is at its richest with results and donor behavior. By capitalizing on the moment with a doubled investment in list growth, this organization saw their early December 2022 acquisition achieve a full return in one week, and a 531% ROI over the next few months.


In 2023, this nonprofit member of The Digital Co-Op set a cadence of consistent monthly investment throughout the year to maintain steady growth between moments of rapid response and preparation for major moments – increasing their investments during their biggest campaigns. At year-end, they saw increased return and revenue across all their monthly cohorts.

Here’s a look at how the strategy played out for a 6-month window of acquisition cohorts:

A cadence of consistent investments is a key acquisition strategy that has powered incredible results for our political partners for years. When put into action by this nonprofit organization, they saw results that powered overall growth to their fundraising program, even in the face of a challenging end-of-year for nonprofits.

531% return on December 2022 investment with a full return in one week

60% of total email revenue came from co-op delivered names in the final week of the year



With 2024 posing yet another round of challenges for nonprofit fundraisers, The Digital Co-Op team is here to talk with you about the best list-growth strategy for your program. Share your email below, or reach out to your contact on The Digital Co-Op team, to get planning.

For another story about a nonprofit member leveraging The Digital Co-Op for long-term growth, check out A Co-Op Model for Every Challenge. To learn how a small nonprofit with low email volume tripled their active email audience in six months, check out our recent acquisition case study.