Marketing a charity? Here’s how to run a campaign on a budget

19th February 2018 - Business & Marketing
Marketing a charity? Here’s how to run a campaign on a budget

Running a successful marketing campaign is always tough. If you are marketing a charity, chances are you only have limited funds from donations, which increases the challenge significantly.

Is it possible to run a successful campaign on a tight budget? The answer, thankfully, is yes. This guide will walk you through some best practices along with some pitfalls you should avoid. Let’s get started!

What kind of people make up your audience?

The social & economic background of your audience will affect the way they engage with and donate to your charity. You need to make sure you thoroughly understand your audience through proper research.

How do you do this? A good start is by using freely available online tools, such as social media. Google Analytics (if your charity has a website) can provide data about your current donors’ behaviour, age location and gender, while Facebook lets you see exactly who is liking and sharing your posts. You can also use a postal survey to find out detailed and direct results.

By finding out what motivates your potential donors, you can craft a campaign that will really speak to them.

Do you have a marketing target?

Unless your have a clear goal, your marketing activities will be messy, disorganised and wasteful. Decide what you want to achieve and let that choice guide everything else you do. This will make your campaign easier to manage and will also prevent unnecessary spending.

Set up a planning session with your team and fire some questions around the room. Do you:

Have you decided on a key message?

While you’re having your initial strategy meeting, decide what your key message should be. Think of a short, snappy statement that perfectly sums up your campaign and charity.

What makes your organisation different? The trick to creating a good charity marketing message is highlighting your charity and what you have accomplished. 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.

Do you have enough content to create compelling case studies? Real-world stories & photos that show how you’ve made a positive difference go down really well with the public. Arrange interviews, take pictures or even do a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity. Good images and stories make excellent material for pamphlets and leaflets that you can post around your local area. After all, showing people what your charity can do is way more effective than just telling them.

Creating effective content

There has already been a big shift into video when it comes to online trends, so consider creating video content as part of your overall campaign. Good photography is also crucial when it comes to creating an eye-catching campaign – but neither of these things can compensate for poorly written copy. Make sure your content is punchy and powerful with a strong key message — for example, ‘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. A combination of powerful words and images will massively increase your chances of success.

The tone you take is also important. The words you use should be personal and informal – as if you are speaking to a friend. Even if your charity deals with a serious or frightening subject, a conversational tone still works better than stuffy, business-like language.

What tools are available to spread your message?

Despite the number of digital tools at your disposal, print has a strong track-record when it comes to promoting charities. Nearly 80% of charitable donations come from direct mail, according to a report by the Institute of Fundraising. Research shows that printed items also inspire loyalty, with over half of the people surveyed stating that they find print the most credible marketing channel, and a quarter keeping printed products for future reference.

Digital media is still a brilliant and freely available tool that you should definitely make us of. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others can all be put to good use, getting your message in front of the right people. Back 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.

We recommend using a combination of print and digital, working with the strengths of both mediums. Many print design companies have good relationships with charitable organisations, and may be will willing to offer you generous discounts – so don’t be afraid to ask!

Other ways to get funding

Most of what we’ve discussed already can be achieved with little or no spending. However if you would like to inject some cash into your marketing activities, here are some interesting facts about various fundraising avenues you can make use of:

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.



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