Real Influence for a Real Impact

Real Influence for a Real Impact

The Make-A-Wish Foundation invigorates kids with life-threatening medical conditions with hope and strength. Through donor support, the nonprofit grants incredible experiences to kids who wish to “meet a unicorn,” “become a firefighter,” or fulfill almost any other dream. True North developed an online donor acquisition program that blended digital display with targeted search tactics to capture user interest and turn it into donation intent.

Media Strategy

Helping Make-A-Wish succeed online meant visualizing success first. Digital donor acquisition can be an opaque process, so our insights team made it transparent. By tracking users across channels, we could identify which channels were truly influencing donations, allowing us to efficiently replicate success.

Full-Funnel Attribution

  1. Introducer
    User views display ad #1
  2. Influencer
    Organic Search: User seeks out Make-A-Wish
  3. Influencer
    User is retargeted and clicks on display ad #2
  4. Closer
    Paid Search: User clicks on search ad
  5. Action
    User becomes Make-A-Wish donor

Respect the brand, respect the kids

Staying true to the Make-A-Wish brand, our creative remained positive, inspiring prospects to give, rather than weighing them down with grief. And by showing the sheer joy that Wish Kids feel, our creative proves that shining bright is the strongest strategy.

  • This ad premiered as part of a series of pilot ads, each of which expressed a powerful emotion like courage, hope, or joy.

  • Holiday language and design touches lent a festive feel to this ad, which shows how every wish granted is a gift to a child in need.

  • Happiness is hard to quantify, but donations aren’t. This ad persuades viewers by showing how every contribution adds up to something special.

  • Every wish granted makes a lasting impact. And for some kids, like Alexander, a wish is just the beginning of a new chapter.


Make-A-Wish stories inspired a plethora of new prospects online. True North helped convert that inspiration into action by combining digital display prospecting and retargeting with search-based text ads. To this day, we continue to use full-funnel attribution to optimize brand influence. This keeps the Make-A-Wish online campaign efficient, to ensure that more dollars from every donation can help grant wishes for a child in need.

  • 164%

    revenue grown year-over-year

  • 60%

    lower cost per donation received, year-over-year

  • 32%

    increase in average one-time donation amount