A partnership built on trust and growth


When City Rescue Mission came to RKD, they were looking for something new. A previous partner had focused too much on brand and not enough on fundraising. Another leaned too heavily into messaging about meals and offers. Because of this, the mission was losing donors and revenue quickly.

City Rescue Mission knew they needed a new direction that could leverage both their brand and an effective fundraising message. They needed a program turnaround and a partner they could trust to take them to the next level. They needed a breakthrough.  

Our Role

Brand Development

Creative direction

Omnichannel Fundraising and Marketing

Website Support

Mid-Major Program Support


Lift in active donors rates


Increase in overall revenue


Increase in core retention rate

Deep discovery process

RKD spent the initial few months conducting a deep discovery of City Rescue Mission’s program, studying their data to better understand which areas needed immediate attention. We knew there was no cookie-cutter solution to this challenge. It had to start with listening and learning.  

Year 1: Reset and rebuild

Over the next year, we worked together to reset and rebuild their overall fundraising program by focusing on best practices and optimizing their approach. We did this through:  

  • Establishing frequency in their messaging through a strong communication calendar 
  • Optimizing their ask and segmentation strategies to target high-value donors 
  • Marrying their offer with their brand for a more cohesive donor experience 
  • Strategically revamping their digital program with an emphasis on cultivation and stewardship 
  • Supporting a more robust mid-major program from a mass and individual level 

Year 2: Strategic growth

After our analysis showed that giving and donor file health was turning around, RKD was able to plan strategic moves to take their program to the next level in Year 2.  But no one knew what the year would hold amid a global pandemic. Because of their decision to reset and rebuild, City Rescue Mission was able to continue to thrive and grow, with renewed focus in areas including: 

  • Optimizing their website for fundraising 
  • Moving them to the Donor Marketing Cloud to enhance the donor experience 
  • Pivoting to introduce an integrated COVID response 
  • Strengthening donor relationships through a scaled stewardship strategy 

Year 3: Supercharged fundraising

Now, in Year 3, we’re seeing an incredible breakthrough. With overall revenue up 54.8% year over year, active donor rates up 73% year over year and core retention rates up 37% over FY19, City Rescue Mission has supercharged their fundraising efforts.  

Thanks to their commitment to building a strong foundation first, the mission has completely turned their program around. They’re now able to expand and refine their efforts in areas like paid media acquisition, stewardship, cultivation, mid-major audience support and more. What began as a challenge has blossomed into blessings. By choosing a new approach, with a custom strategy based on their needs, City Rescue Mission set themselves on a new trajectory for growth.  

“We are so appreciative of RKD’s team approach and their ability to be nimble and pivot with an aggressive and innovative fundraising plan. Subsequently, this has allowed us to vision our future much more proactively and positively and has put us actually substantially ahead of our goals.”

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