Academy Xi Blog

A Community of Growth Hackers Working on $0 Budget

By Academy Xi

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A growth marketer’s problem is thinking about how to get a customer in the door and nurture them into becoming revenue. From door to revenue, there are numerous funnels a customer may take and sometimes it’s a bumpy road.

According to a 2014 Gartner Research study, companies spend — on average — 10.2 percent of their annual revenue on marketing. For small startups, 10 percent is a lot of money, and for not-for-profits, that’s an insane amount!   

It’s much harder for not-for-profit organisations to growth market, as they need to draw the attention of a particular niche: the donator.

In having limited resources and time, finding a way to hack into that explosive growth is crucial for not-for-profits.

Earlier this month, Academy Xi reached out to three not-for-profits: Madeline and Alannah Foundation, Startout, and eOrygen — and connected them with hackers and agencies to help them find a path to explosive growth.

This connection transformed into our Growth Hack Idol competition, where each organisation has the chance to win a coveted “Golden Metric” crown, but more importantly, learn the skills and techniques of growth hacking.

In working on a $0 budget, hackers and agencies gave up their time to work on each not-for-profit’s area of opportunity. They’ve already made headway in growing their organisations, with some really inventive growth hacks.

We caught up with those involved in the competition to see how they’re tracking and if they’ll be ready to present for our final event: Growth Hack Idol: The Results.

Alannah and Madeline Foundation

What they’ve achieved so far:

  • Utilising social media to attract a new audience
  • Identification of new demographic: mums with young children
  • Assessment of web page with new curated content and design to improve event landing pages

“We just haven’t had time for social media, yet it’s a cornerstone of everything we do,” says Caroline Henricks, head of marketing at the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. “This exercise has really helped to focus us.”


What they’ve achieved so far:

  • The launch of their startup, which received a special mention in Federal Parliament
  • Engagement of regional networks
  • Improvements on SEO, increasing website traffic by 20 percent
  • Additional 350 likes on Facebook

“They’re the ideal client in the sense that they’ve put a lot of hard yakka into the brand and the mentor network that they have,” says Ian Hopkinson from Mad Scientist Digital Agency. “I wish all of our clients were like this because I’m leaping out of bed in the morning!”


What they’ve achieved so far:

  • Speaking engagement at Healthtech event
  • Creation of mailing list
  • Building of landing pages and calls to action
  • 14 confirmed product ambassadors, on the way to 100

“Everything seems to be moving a lot faster than what we originally thought,” says Erica Jolly, from Milk It Academy. “We’re getting far more engagement than expected!”

And it’s not too late for you to participate! Put yourself in the middle of the action with Growth Hack Idol: The Results. If you’re not a hacker, you’re a judge. You will be involved in deciding the winner across a series of categories that include “the most creative use of data,” “the best metric” and the “audience prize.”