Mercy Corps Issues RFP For Digital Acquisition & Marketing Agency of Record


Mercy Corps is requesting proposals for a new digital acquisition and marketing agency of record. The new agency should provide excellent client partnership and service, strategic direction, inventive ideas, and clear reporting on acquisition and advertising efforts. Mercy Corps will consider two separate agencies if each can show strong digital acquisition or digital marketing expertise and the ability to partner with their digital program counterpart.

We are seeking an agency that can work collaboratively with our brand marketing and direct response fundraising teams and that has strong project management and communications skills. Our new partner should to be responsive to our requests, especially during a global scale emergency. At the core level we are seeking an agency partner who can provide an integrated full funnel digital marketing and acquisition strategy as well as manage digital marketing channels on a regular basis. This partner must make data-driven decisions and report on account performance using channel and full file analytics. We will consider additional aspects of your agency’s work as well, including creative production and lead generation activities.

Of unique importance is the need for an agency partner to be prepared for emergency fundraising, which involves effectively managing media buys on a tight timeline during large scale disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis) that can happen anytime around the world. In these situations, there could be thousands of people using our digital channels to make donations, and our goal is to be operational on fundraising within 2 hours or sooner of the disaster’s occurrence.


Since 1979, Mercy Corps has helped people grappling with the toughest hardships survive — and then thrive. That’s the heart of our approach: We help communities turn crisis into opportunity. Throughout our history, Mercy Corps has demonstrated innovation, timeliness and the ability to adapt quickly to changing realities.

Today, Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible, working in more than 40 countries to help people recover from disasters, build stronger communities and find their own solutions to poverty.

The agency consistently ranks as one of America’s most effective and efficient charitable organizations with over 5,000 employees living around the world. Over the last five years, more than 87 percent of resources have been allocated directly to programs that help families turn crisis into opportunity in areas facing the world’s toughest challenges.

To date, our digital marketing and acquisition plan has focused on aggressively investing in our paid search, paid social media and banner display programs, where we have seen substantial growth.

Now that our essential revenue driving channels are established, we see the opportunity to build a stronger full funnel program that will allow us to acquire new qualified leads and donors — both one-time and monthly.

As we head into FY19 and beyond, Mercy Corps is increasingly focused on growing our digital strategies to increase private fundraising revenue. We will be asked to frequently share results with other internal teams and leadership that do not necessarily understand digital marketing jargon, requiring our team to be nimble and responsive to queries.

The agency we are looking for will act as a key strategic partner to proactively help us optimize our current program and will lean into integrating top of funnel tactics that can improve longer term donor and revenue goals.

Scope of Work:

Mercy Corps is looking for a strategic partner to help us build awareness and influence to reach and acquire new leads, one-time and sustaining donors and raise funds. Our new digital agency will provide strategy, execution and reporting for a full funnel marketing program.

We are seeking a partner that:

  • Works collaboratively with our team and partner agencies.
  • Has excellent project management skills.
  • Is highly responsive, including during non-standard hours when global crises strike.
  • Demonstrates strong commitment to our mission.
  • Immerses themselves in our digital data and approaches digital marketing and acquisition with a multichannel mindset at all times.
  • Develops a full understanding of how all of our channels impact one another.
  • Acts as an extension of our team, making recommendations in the best interest of our goals and mission.
  • Improves the experience of our donors through coordination across channels.
  • Helps Mercy Corps grow year-over-year awareness, donors and revenue.
  • Helps identify our audiences and which are most reliable supporters.

Specific account management tasks include:

  • Manage SEM, paid social media and display advertising strategy and execution for Mercy Corps.
  • Develop a tailored, full funnel digital marketing and acquisition strategy that moves beyond   our standard seasonal fundraising tactics and focus on overall annual program growth.
  • Provide investment scenarios for optimizing revenue and new donor acquisition.
  • Annually review our existing SEM and social media strategies to develop and implement recommendations that allow for continued growth.
  • Review and optimize Google Grants to broaden keyword reach and improve current strategies.
  • Manage media planning, buying, execution, and optimization with consultation from Digital  Marketing team.
  • Maintain and communicate out ongoing campaign reporting and analytics.
  • Recommend vendors, tests, and technology offerings to increase efficiencies in target audiences and increase reach and conversions.
  • Consult on larger unpaid marketing strategy, particularly organic social channels.
  • Accurately analyze and make future projections and recommendations for strategy using  Mercy Corps data including gift attribution and matchbacks to accurately capture results from multi-channel campaigns.
  • Evergreen acquisition strategy and management that is inclusive of display, SEM, social media ads, and other opportunities as they arise.
  • Required reporting: holistic monthly digital report, cross channel campaign reports, quarterly performance summaries and annual recap.
  • Provide strong project management and commitment to meeting deadlines

Example Deliverables

  • HTML5 display ads
  • Donation page creative
  • Standard bimonthly report including SEM and Google grants performance, and other campaign-level reporting as requested
  • Campaign testing strategy
  • Given extra budget to spend in our program now, where is the best investment? Short-term?  Long-term? What would be the ROI on each investment?

Due Date:

June 4, 2018


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