Australia for UNHCR Gateway to a better life: how a multi-touch point strategy led to life-changing support for global refugees.

Australia for UNHCR

Sparro has been assisting the UNHCR’s national partner, Australia for UNHCR in global emergency response since the start of 2020.

Our first campaign with Australia for UNHCR (A4UNHCR) helped them rapidly pivot their digital strategy to maintain a share of voice amidst the world plunging into a global pandemic right off the back of Australia’s worst bushfire season on record. 

Unfortunately, the challenge of staying front of mind continues to evolve as more disasters arise all around the world. With face-to-face charitable fundraising, major events, door-knocking, and sign-ups shut down due to COVID-19, having a strong digital presence became even more paramount for A4UNHCR to continually advocate support for refugees globally. 

How do you reach the right audience when all charities and new crises are fighting for the same digital spotlight?

Following our learnings from our first digital campaign, our team devised a multi-channel approach for the rest of 2020 and early 2021.

The strategy was to capture potential donors on multiple touch-points throughout their “media journey” and identify affinity groups who resonate strongly with the cause. This consisted of running the same video creative on various mediums including broadcast TV, digital TV, instream, outstream (with subtitles) and social media during the most competitive times of the year: Tax Time (April – June) and Christmas (Nov – Dec). 

To ensure unity of messaging and incremental reach, each channel was launched with one week intervals to see the differences they had in website traffic. 

Display ads were also part of the channel mix, providing an Always-On awareness tactic as well as retargeting website visitors. We also ensured to have Always-On strategies on Paid Social and Paid Search to maximise lower-funnel conversions, which we updated based on any trends in news coverage.

Using the Campaign Manager 360 platform, we were able to identify the varying touch points a user had throughout the campaign – allowing us to attribute across what typically are unlinked channels and environments. This gave us the ability to pinpoint the most effective channel mix, as well as shift budget accordingly to maximise conversions.

In addition, this multi-channel strategy allowed us to identify that people interested in News and Current Affairs were more likely to donate due to the stronger likelihood of them already being aware of a refugee crisis. So we added this audience group to our Social & Display strategy, and saw a very successful ROAS as a result. 

Overall, this campaign achieved a 46% increase in donations YoY in Q1 2021 compared to 2020 and a 72% improvement in ROAS compared to the previous year.

In 2020, A4UNHCR raised $33 million to assist UNHCR’s urgent humanitarian responses across the world. This, according to Australia for UNHCR, was one of their best fiscal years ever – and we’re incredibly proud to have helped develop and mature the digital marketing of UN Refugee Agency’s Australian branch.



  • Have a strong digital presence in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Continue to reach the right audience and stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market


  • Design a multi-channel approach to capture potential donors on multiple touch-points
  • Implement display ads and provide an Always-On strategy across paid social and paid search channels.


  • 46% increase in donations YoY in Q1 2021 compared to 2020
  • 72% improvement in ROAS compared to the previous year

Finding value and growth in turbulent times

The Sparro team have been incredibly agile in responding and executing campaigns for Australia for UNHCR.

As we are an organization that responds to emergencies globally, having an agency that can provide this level of support is critical to our mandate. They have ensured we are first to market with our paid campaigns while ensuring the creative and targeting are not compromised.

The team has been providing timely market-level insights around the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-changing dynamic. These insights have helped us plan our activity better and make use of opportunities during the COVID crisis.


Saman Kazmi
Digital Team Lead, Australia for UNHCR

The Result

improvement in ROAS compared to 2020
donations YOY in Q1 2021, compared to 2020
of refugees
Morris Bryant
Cameron Bryant
Sparro Digital Marketing Level 12, 35 Tumbalong Boulevard,
Haymarket, NSW Australia
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