How Stepping Stone House Raised $1.4M in Funds using Digital Ads

SSH Logo

About Stepping Stone House

Stepping Stone House (SSH) is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to provide a safe plan for children and young people at risk/experiencing homelessness. SSH offers long-term shelter and support programs to young people aged 12-24 years old, so they can begin to heal, build connections and resilience, and thrive in their lives. SSH initially partnered with Rocket to help manage their ongoing brand awareness campaigns. As the campaigns improved, they engaged Rocket in a short-term project to help drive registrations and funds to their annual fundraising event 'Sleep Under the Stars'.


Rocket helped SSH deliver on two core objectives:

  • Scale and optimise their Google Ads Grants Account to increase primary conversions by 50% within 6 months. Primary conversions include Contact Us form submissions and inbound phone calls.
  • Drive 80+ registrations using a tight media budget for SSH's annual fundraiser 'Sleep Under the Stars' in less than 6 weeks and assist in fundraising $1.2M.


Rocket's digital specialists and creative team devised a comprehensive strategy to achieve SSH's marketing outcomes. We identified the target audience that included two distinct personas:

  • Persona 1: Young people across Australia, aged 18-24 years, who are at risk of homelessness who are researching youth accommodation and want to join SSH for help.
  • Persona 2: Corporate partners, aged 25-65 years, that would like to support SSH through ongoing work/donations as a part of their CSR strategy.

The approach for both objectives was distinct:

1. Brand Awareness Campaign via Google Ads Grant Account

  • Google Ads Account Audit: Reviewed the account structure, campaigns, targeting and tactics implemented historically for the account.
  • Keyword Research and Google Ads Strategy Development: Extensive keyword research on all product categories followed the set up of a revised campaign structure and evaluated the budget allocation for optimal results.
  • Tracking, Optimisation and Evaluation: Reviewed, evaluated, and added additional tracking on the account and rolled out a weekly optimisation plan, evaluating the performance of the campaign based on primary metrics (MQL, CPL and CVR) and optimising secondary metrics (Clicks, CPC, CTR and Engagement).
  • Maneuvering Through Account Limitations: The Google Ads Grants account posed multiple challenges and restrictions for our team. There were bidding and placement limitations and account suspension constraints in place making the campaign increasingly competitive.

2. Driving Registrations and Funds for ‘Sleep Under The Stars’

Within the 6-week period, Rocket conducted a concept creation workshop to then produce world-class creatives and messaging that would resonate with the target audience. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Google Search were all deployed to target users across the funnel. There were five main stages for the campaign:

  • Awareness/Education: Launched a traffic-focussed LinkedIn campaign targeting audiences that may not know or have heard of Stepping Stone House or Sleep Under The Stars.
  • Interest: A Facebook and Instagram campaign was set up to target lookalikes of converters on the SUTS website. Search campaigns ensured that SSH did not lose on warm prospects.
  • Refined Interest: A Google Search campaign focused on refined generic keywords was used to capture users who are interested/searching keywords.
  • Retargeting: This stage comprised a Facebook campaign set up to retarget users who had visited the Sleep under The Stars event website in the past 90 days.
  • User nurture/Intent to search: Lastly, Google Search was used to capture non-converters.



Above Target # of Registrations


Cheaper CPL than Target


Google Ads Conversions Above Target

Concept Creation

Rocket's thorough concept creation process helped SSH translate its already strong message and cause into powerful ad copy and ad imagery. Their event, 'Sleep Under the Stars' was scheduled to be held at Sydney's spectacular Taronga Zoo. Keeping this in mind, our creative team developed two approaches to promote the fundraiser in a short span of time.

  • Everyone deserves a roof over their heads
  • Stand up for a cause

The style of creatives added a touch of fun, given their core audience and incorporated the Sydney city skyline with zoo animals such as meerkats and elephants. Given this event was a sleepover at the zoo, the creatives also cleverly faded from the dark of night to the sunrise, while subtly adding in the SSH orange brand colour. The design team created several mockups before deciding on the two final creatives that would be used in the ads - which the client and our team loved!


SSH creative 1
SSH creative 2
SSH creative 3
SSH creative 4


Rocket smashed the initial targets that were set! The results from both campaigns have been extraordinary. Despite limited media budgets, we were able to activate multiple channels driving a good result. Rocket was prompt in recognising when a channel was not performing to shift strategy in an agile manner.

  • The Google Ads brand awareness campaigns delivered conversions 34.6% above target within the 6-month period.
  • In terms of the fundraising event, the creative and copy built for the campaign were exceptionally refreshing and contributed significantly to driving donations.
  • Registrations for 'Sleep Under the Stars' were 67% above the target.
  • In 4 weeks, with a small budget of $500, Rocket was also able to generate a CTR of 13.44%, a CVR of 5.29%, and a CPA of $28.20 for registrations.
  • Most importantly, the SSH was able to raise $1,407,264 in donations, that's 17.27% above their initial target.

Our Award Wins

  • Finalist 'Best Use of Search - Third Sector / Non for Profit' - APAC Search Awards 2023
See all our awards

Check our next case study

Rocket Agency has solved digital marketing challenges for hundreds of Australian businesses and run thousands of successful campaigns across SEO, Google Ads and Social Media to deliver tangible business results. Our case studies reflect our digital marketing expertise across industries and channels.


Increase in New Website Users YoY


Increase in Organic Traffic YoY


Decrease in Google Ads CPC YoY
The Plant Man

The Plant Man - Winning bigger B2B deals with PPC & SEO

The Plant Man is an indoor plant hire and maintenance service that targets offices, commercial buildings, shopping centres, showrooms and hospitality. Operating since 1991, they had previously worked with another digital agency. By the end of 2020, while looking for a better agency experience and an improvement in performance marketing, they turned to Rocket. The Rocket team worked within The Plant Man's digital marketing budget to capture the lowest hanging fruit and build the foundations for long-term digital marketing success.