Nonprofit, Trees for the Future, enjoys a 46% increase in donations after first campaign on Genius Monkey Platform


Trees for the Future is an international nonprofit that focuses on revitalizing degraded farmland through planting trees and sustainability education. Since 1989, they’ve planted over 250 million trees and restored over 60,000 acres of degraded land, helping provide food and income to over 300,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa. Trees for the Future relies on donations to continue their work, and were largely reaching out to the community for those donations by running ads on their own. With the help of Genius Monkey, they were able to reach much further than ever before. 

The Challenge

When Trees for the Future started thinking about how to advertise more effectively, time and resources were thin. Lindsey Cobb, Deputy Director of Marketing and Communications, said: “We spent a lot of time that we didn’t really have researching and trying to understand what ads were working, where we should place them, why we should place them there”, etc. 

Their goal was to reach as wide an audience as possible in preparation for Earth Day while finding the kind of consumer that would be willing to act and donate. In addition, they hoped to convert existing single donors into monthly patrons, all while getting the most out of their ad spend on a limited budget. 

Cobb said that “there were a lot of questions we were constantly asking ourselves, and we weren’t necessarily the best people to answer those questions”. Genius Monkey was brought in specifically to help with audio ads, but it wasn’t long before they realized we had the answers they needed.

  • Targeting Consumers Willing to Donate Targeting Consumers Willing to Donate
  • Convert Single Donors Into Monthly Patrons Convert Single Donors Into Monthly Patrons
  • Getting Performance On A Limited Budget Getting Performance On A Limited Budget

Our Solution

Shortly after taking care of their audio, we began helping with their display ads as well. Trees for the Future had been running a limited display strategy, piece-mailing to various networks without much in the way of targeting or a proper tracking solution. The first step was become more efficient with their ad spend by bringing all of their digital ads into our all-in-one Meta-DSP system. This enables their ads to appear in more places across more devices at a lower cost, and Trees for the Future could track each donor’s journey from initial impression to conversion. 

The next step was targeting the right audience; the campaign began looking for likely donors with our many database partners in addition to the profiles of their current donors. This then expanded to targeting donors of other causes, people interested in philanthropy, supporters of environmental efforts, and other similar demographics. Lastly, the team at Trees for the Future was shown how they could process and use the data from the Genius Monkey platform and tracking tools, giving them the power to pivot and adjust the campaigns based on what was working. 

The Results

By applying these strategies across the company, Trees for the Future began seeing results very quickly: 

  • The first campaign brought a 46% increase in donations
  • After one year of running with Genius Monkey there was a 21% increase in overall donations
  • A huge number of new donors mentioned learning about the organization through ads
  • People were discovering and interacting with Trees for the Future through more devices and advertising avenues than ever before
  • 75% of people who visited their site were new users brought in from Genius Monkey ads

Lindsey Cobb suggested that what they learned from the campaign was just as important as the results: they can now “dive into the data that comes out of a Genius Monkey campaign and learn why something worked or didn’t work”, as well as “apply that to other areas of our work” like social media and other marketing efforts. 

"I get to look at the back end of our social media ads, and I get to see that we are running more efficiently. There's a noticeable difference when we run ads with Genius Monkey; our social media cost-per-clicks are lower, our cost-per-impression is lower, so we're running more efficiently and we're getting a larger volume overall."

- Junior Walters, Marketing and Communications Coordinator


By running all of their advertising efforts through our tools, Genius Monkey helped Trees for the Future understand how to make their advertising work for them. With careful targeting and tracking, they could reach more eager donors and continue making the world a better place. Lindsey Cobb remarked that “the marketing team is really excited to see where the organization goes next thanks to this really powerful partnership and the success we’ve seen with Genius Monkey.”