Amnesty | How a bold idea resulted in extra members

27 May 2024

It’s almost time for this year’s edition of the EMAS Battle of the Agencies, but we’re taking a moment to look back at our winning case from last year. Curious about how we did this for Amnesty International? Read it here!

Happy Horizon is one of the sponsors for the 2024 Email Marketing Automation Summit in Circa Amsterdam. Tickets available here.

“It’s great to see that our taken risk has paid off well,” said our email expert Joep after the victory during the Battle of the Agencies. For charities like Amnesty International, donations are one of the most important sources of income. But enticing consumers to make a (long-term) donation is becoming increasingly challenging, partly due to the economic situation and reduced purchasing power. With a team of specialists, we proposed a well-thought-out yet daring idea. This idea earned us the victory at the Battle of the Agencies 2023.

The question from Amnesty International

Develop an email for the recruitment of as many members as possible, with the highest possible annual value. That was the task given by Amnesty International to the participants of the Battle of the Agencies 2023. Amnesty aims to recruit members who, extrapolated over 1 year, achieve the highest possible value.

“It’s really nice to see that our insights into non-profit and email marketing have been decisive in our victory.” – Joep van Ham

Our approach

We started with a brainstorm with non-profit specialists, email marketers, and content specialists. What do we already know about the target audience, and what do we know from similar campaigns? That brainstorm yielded relevant insights:

  • Donors often think that their donation is just a drop in the ocean. Therefore, we need to emphasize that every donation counts;
  • Emails to recruit members often have a high open rate. However, the click-through rate (CTR) is often low. If we want to achieve results, it is our task to make the email content different from previously sent emails;
  • A relatively large number of recruitment emails are sent. We need to stand out.

With these insights in mind, we opted for a bold but, given the collected information, a very logical option. We chose a text email, written from the perspective of the director. With this, we wanted to stimulate urgency, reciprocity, and a sense of togetherness and claim authority. We did this by…

  • Writing a personalized greeting (Can you help me, <name>?);
  • Making the text as concise and powerful as possible;
  • Adding the director’s signature;
  • Placing text links above the fold;
  • Making text links blue instead of black;
  • Personalizing the text per segment;
  • Testing extensively;
  • Creating an English version of the email.

Additionally, we redesigned the landing page with our UX designer.


The text email was live for 2 weeks and brought in 45 new members, with an average donation value of €77.58. The annual value – the campaign’s most important KPI – was even €3,491.00. That is over €500 higher than the second-place, and over €1000 higher than the third-place. Thanks to these results, we were named the winner of the Battle of the Agencies for the second year in a row.


Joep van Ham
Teamlead E-mailmarketing | Happy Horizon