One Year and 1040% List Growth: A Digital Co-Op Case Study

Nonprofit organizations joining The Digital Co-Op are utilizing the first-of-its-kind digital list growth tool to bring on a whole new cohort of activists, community members, and donors ready to support their missions, and the results have been staggering: an immediate boost in engagement, speedy returns on their investments, and a larger file of actively engaged audience members to communicate with long-term.

For one nonprofit, investment in list growth through The Digital Co-Op has dramatically transformed their digital fundraising program: They’ve grown their email list from 50,000 to 570,000 names in just one year.


1,040% email list growth


A 240% return on 2021 investments in list growth via The Digital Co-Op


A 154% return on reactivation modeling via The Digital Co-Op

Digital fundraising became a challenge for this global health organization around 2019 when they fell victim to deliverability issues and were struggling to grow their email file. In 2021, they spoke to the team at MissionWired to learn more about our first-of-its-kind list growth solution, The Digital Co-Op. 

One year later, we’re tracing the way this nonprofit’s investments in list growth and reactivation modeling through The Digital Co-Op transformed their email list, driving strong engagement and high ROI during critical moments and expanding the reach of their world-changing mission.

In July 2021, the global health organization came to our team with a large inactive file, eager to grow their digital program to engage new and old supporters alike, all while protecting deliverability. Year-end was approaching, and fundraising fatigue on their list of 50,000 email addresses was a very real concern. Their efforts to grow their email file through traditional lead generation sources such as paid media and Care2 had plateaued, and they were no longer seeing results: Their email file would grow, then have attrition, without driving a return on their investments.

For this team, The Digital Co-Op presented the perfect opportunity to grow their list of engaged supporters ahead of the biggest fundraising moment of the year.

To discover if list growth through The Digital Co-Op would drive meaningful results, they began with a few small test buys. The results came quickly and far exceeded expectations: On top of seeing a full return on their investment in 2 months, they also saw elevated engagement right off the bat, stronger than the traditional lead generation efforts they’d tried, and even better than some of the cohorts on their original email list.

MissionWired partnered with this organization to develop compelling content and a messaging cadence designed to drive strong engagement – and that’s exactly what the results showed. The test buys from The Digital Co-Op saw higher-than-average list engagement and deliverability. Knowing that these newly-acquired email addresses were active and responsive to organizations with similar missions offered them the confidence to email more names at a faster rate.

As a member of The Digital Co-Op, this organization has been able to continue to scale up and make the most of their investments in list growth over the past year by:

  • Driving strong engagement rates from new-to-list names during rapid-response moments. When responding to the crisis in Ukraine, their team found that the relationships they’d already built through monthly acquisitions of new followers through The Digital Co-Op made a critical impact during rapid response. Those recently-acquired names showed very high engagement levels, and during the first month of the crisis, 30% of their first-time donors were from co-op acquired names.
  • Bringing inactive supporters back into the fold. By investing in The Digital Co-Op’s reactivation offering, which allowed them to accurately identify which names within their inactive file were best to immediately and safely add back into their email program, they were able to re-engage names who were already aware of their brand as a global health and disaster relief organization, who already had a foundation and relationship with their organization, to remind these past donors of what they already knew and loved about their program. In fewer than 10 months, their investment in reactivation saw a 154% return.
  • Acquiring new-to-list names to lean into critical fundraising periods like Giving Tuesday and end-of-year. For this nonprofit, joining the co-op ahead of their biggest appeals of the year was critical. When the time came to send their biggest campaigns in moments like Giving Tuesday and year-end, they found an active flush of responsive names already in the pipeline, who had received some of their messaging, were familiar with their program, and ready to respond.

The Digital Co-Op quickly became this organization’s number one performer in digital acquisition because of the data behind it: With a tremendous amount of behavioral data – 240 terabytes worth – and sophisticated modeling, the co-op is able to access an incredible amount of useful information about recent donation activity to find the email addresses of supporters who are donating to like-minded organizations.

After one year as a member of The Digital Co-Op, their program has seen:

  • Their email list grow from 50,000 email addresses to 570,000 active email addresses
  • A 240% ROAS on their 2021 investment
  • 154% ROAS on reactivation models, with a $117 average gift (that’s $10 higher than their average gift from other cohorts)
  • 3-month payback windows for names acquired in late November and early December 2021 (sending the same number of emails as that same period in 2020, they nearly tripled their revenue)
  • Breakeven windows as short as just 39 days

Interested in learning more about The Digital Co-Op? You can check out more possibilities at or send an email to our chief growth officer at to learn more.