Customer Stories with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters Increases Revenue nearly 200% with Personalized Video

The challenge...Cultivating donor relationships over email

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nonprofit organization that helps kids succeed by matching them with mentors. They are a national organization with local branches dispersed across the country. Each branch raises their own funding and cultivates donor relationships. 

The branches run a multitude fundraising campaigns and events throughout the year to build relationships and demonstrate the impact of BBBS donors on the community, all while keeping costs low. 

One of BBBS’s main communication channels is email. They leverage Constant Contact to send emails throughout the year. While email is a powerful communication channel, they wrestled with keeping email engagement high.

In a world where their donors are regularly receiving 100+ emails a day, how can BBBS stand out in the inbox to connect with their community?

Solution: Send personalized video emails 

Vice President of Marketing for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, CJ Craig, realized that she could increase prospective donor email engagement and conversions with personalized videos. 

Video emails not only stand out in the inbox - interrupting the usual pattern of text-based emails - but they also humanize the experience and help potential donors connect with the organization and its mission. 

Asking people for money is very personal….As a nonprofit without the bandwidth to meet every donor in person, Sendspark provides a great way to reach donors and maintain a personal connection.


Why Sendspark 

CJ decided to use Sendspark because of its simplicity. Sendspark is ridiculously easy to use, and fits well into her existing workflow.

  • CJ can easily record, upload, or request videos from other members of her organization.
  • Sendspark videos are built like funnels. CJ can easily add engaging video covers to stand out in the inbox and she can follow each video with a call-to-action to “donate now.”
  • Sendspark works seamlessly with her email automation platform Constant Contact.
  • There are great analytics to measure email clicks, video plays, and CTA conversions.
  • The cost was affordable - at only $144 / year for unlimited videos.

But first, an A/B test👩‍🔬

CJ ran a test to see if including a video in an email actually increases email engagement and conversions.

For Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Annual Appeal, CJ created 2 emails: one with a video and one with just text and an image. 

The video was not hard or time consuming to produce…. CJ just recorded a video of Chief Development Officer, Hugh Far, with her phone, and uploaded it to Sendspark. She added BBBS’s logo, a little bit of customer text, and a call-to-action to donate.

Sendspark was intuitive and easy to use, which was amazing, because with 1 million things going on, I don’t have time to waste on clunky technology.

CJ sent each email to half of her list, to see which would perform best...

BBBS Video Email BBBS Plain Text Email


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Results: Nearly a 200% increase in revenue

CJ was blown away by the results. While both emails had a similar open rate, the email with the video had a 42% higher click-through-rate.

BBBS Chart

After seeing the incredible impact, CJ followed up to all contacts with another video email.

Screen Shot 2020-02-14 at 9.54.34 AM

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CJ saw that the video worked even better than the first time, with an 18% click-through rate. 

According to the American Marketing Association, the industry average nonprofit email marketing click-through-rate is 2.79%. By using a Sendspark video, CJ was able to outperform the industry average by 640%

For Big Brothers Big Sisters, videos provide more than just email engagement. The videos communicate trust and transparency with their donors. The overall impact of the Annual Appeal campaign was a 190% increase of revenue over the previous year. 

Board members and corporate partners replied that our approach to using the video was the smartest thing they’d seen a non-profit do.


Next up: Recruiting mentors 

Big Brothers Big Sisters is now using Sendspark to recruit mentors as well as cultivate donor relationships. When BBBS attended the San Antonio Martin Luther King March, they picked up 70 prospects who could be mentors, and recorded a video to them about the next step to becoming a mentor. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Video 3

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Results Recap

Big Brothers Big Sisters has been able to leverage Sendspark to...

  • Increase email engagement over 40%
  • Increase revenue nearly 200%
  • Humanize the donation experience ❤️

Is Sendspark right for you?

If you’re running marketing or development for a nonprofit, there are countless ways that you can use Sendspark to increase community engagement and conversions. Please reach out and we'll see how we can help! 

Increase in Email Click-Rate
Increase in Annual Revenue
Increase in Individual Donors
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