Creating an effective marketing campaign is tough, even with limitless cash. However, if you’re part of a charity that relies on donations, the difficulty grows.
So, is there a way to design and execute a successful marketing campaign on a budget? The answer, is yes.
This guide to budget marketing for charities will take you on a step-by-step journey through the marketing process — including all the pitfalls you need to avoid and the crucial points you need to focus on!
Who makes up your audience?
Social and economic factors will affect people engaging with your campaign and donating to your organisation. The key to ensuring that you don’t let avoidable factors harm your campaign is to know about them beforehand — research your key audience (i.e. who you want to attract the interest of) until you know them inside out.
How can you do this? There are several ways. Firstly, make the most of social media and online platforms. Google Analytics (if your charity’s website has it) can tell you about your current donors’ behaviour, age and gender, while free-to-use Facebook lets you see exactly who is liking your posts. You can also use a postal survey to find out detailed and direct results.
Essentially, you need to research your current donors to find out their interests, likes and motivations to help you create a marketing strategy that they’ll want to engage with.
What is your marketing target?
Your campaign will be disorganised and less effective without a clear and unwavering goal. Decide what you want to achieve and let that choice guide everything else you do. Not only will this make your campaign easier to manage, but it’ll also prevent unnecessary spending.
Sit down, either by yourself or with your team, and fire questions around the room. Do you:
- Need to improve your organisation’s online authority?
- Have a fundraising target?
- Want to attract more regular donors?
- Wish to create a charity event?
Anything is achievable as long as everyone on the campaign is moving towards the same goal. Just remember to make your objectives precise, measurable and realistic.
Do you have a key message?
While you’re having your ‘main aim’ meeting, why not decide on your key message and save yourself time? A good key message perfectly sums up your campaign and charity. Think short and snappy, then, draft ideas regarding what you want to do to achieve your marketing goal using your key message as the central theme.
What makes your organisation special? The trick to creating a good charity marketing message is highlighting your organisation and what it’s done. For example; US organisation, charity: water, dedicates a section of its website to real-life stories of people the charity has helped, and is renowned for its vivid images and poignant videos.
Could you do case studies, too? Real-life stories and images that show how you’ve made a positive difference work well when presented to the public. Carry out interviews, take pictures and even do a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity. Good photos and insightful case studies make excellent pamphlets and leaflets that you can post around your local area. After all, showing people what your charity can do is far more effective than just telling them.
How do you create effective content?
There’s going to be a big move into video material when it comes to online trends, so it might be worth considering creating video content as part of your campaign to make it fresh and help with engagement.
Photos are also crucial to creating an eye-catching campaign. But these are nothing without strong, emotive and informative copy to support them. Make sure your content is punchy and powerful with a strong key message — such as: ‘Likes don’t save lives’ from UNICEF Sweden or ‘Help is a four-legged word’ from Canine Companions. Taglines like these jump off print marketing products like flyers, posters and roll-up banners. If you pair with a striking image, you massively increase your chances of marketing success.
Even if your campaign is about frightening statistics or a problem in society, your content should remain engaging, informal and hopeful — as if you were chatting to someone in person. Stuffy language and an impersonal tone doesn’t equal a superior strategy.
What is available to spread your message?
Print marketing material is essential to any marketing campaign. Powerful images work best on billboards and posters, rather than on social media and email ads where your audience can scroll past or click away. Nearly 80% of charitable donations come from direct mail, according to a report by the Institute of Fundraising. The same report detailed that print inspires loyalty, with more than half of the people surveyed stating that they find print the most credible marketing channel and a quarter keeping printed products for future reference.
Of course, social media is excellent for providing an open, free platform for your campaign. Use your charity’s online platforms — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your posts, photos and Tweets to spread the word. In 2014, the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) launched a video marketing campaign to raise awareness and hallmark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Despite only running for two weeks, the campaign was covered hundreds of times in the media and achieved more than 14,000 social media shares.
Another cost efficient marketing tool is using email. It is really easy to send an email expressing your message to a vast amount of people, especially with tools like GMass. You can even schedule mass emails to go out weeks in advance so you can quickly move on to other areas that need attention.
We recommend combining print and digital marketing for the best results. Since print is such a popular marketing channel for charities, many design and print agencies work closely and often with non-profit organisations. In other words, don’t hold back from getting in touch and discussing your options.
Are there alternatives to get funding?
Almost every action we’ve discussed above can be achieved with zero or minimal spend. But if you’d prefer a little extra cash to help with your campaign, here are some interesting facts about various fundraising avenues you can utilise:
- Approximately 28% of lottery ticket sales are donated to charities.
- According to Company Giving, funds from the general public account for about 35% of voluntary sector income. Today, people have an even greater incentive to donate, due to government-introduced measures such as: Gift Aid (charities can claim back tax from donations) and Payroll Giving (employees donate automatically from their monthly wage).
- Local government bodies allocate funds to various charities, but the level of budget and support differs depending on where your organisation is based. Browse a list of local authorities for more information.
- Since donating boosts goodwill and staff morale, corporate donations are growing in popularity.
- Grant-making foundations donate billions of pounds to charitable causes and there are thousands to choose from across the UK.
We hope these charity marketing tips have made planning and creating your own easier. There’s a lot more advice available online, so be sure to do plenty of research before you get started.
About the Author
Article produced by UK commercial printing company and roll-up banner specialist, Where The Trade Buys.