5 tips for charity marketing on a shoestring

5 tips for charity marketing on a shoestring

5 tips for charity marketing on a shoestring

For cash-strapped charities, promoting their cause far and wide can be challenging. Ensuring your campaigns are effective yet inexpensive is an important balance to strike – here’s some useful tips to consider…

Creating an effective marketing campaign is rarely simple, even for commercial companies with access to thousands or even millions in cash. For non-profit organisations, the successful design and distribution of a marketing strategy is potentially more difficult, due to less financial support. This raises the question: how do we market a charity on a budget?

Although there is no single solution, there are several key points you must consider to ensure that your organisation’s campaign is well-rounded, effective and as inexpensive as possible. Browse our step-by-step guide to discover how to create a high-quality campaign at a low cost.

1. Consider and define your campaign goal

The first step on your journey to a successful charity marketing campaign is to decide on your goal: what does your organisation want to achieve from this campaign? The more focused your goal, the easier it will be to achieve and the less financial waste you are likely to incur.

For example: do you wish to have better online engagement with your donors? Is there a new fundraising target you wish to hit? Are you creating a special charity event that you would like to advertise? Or, do you simply wish to attract more regular supporters to help your charity carry out its work? Ensure that your campaign purpose is exact, realistic and measurable, so that you can test its success and make tweaks if necessary further down the line.

2. Define your target audience

It’s essential that you know as much as possible about your target audience before designing your campaign. This will help prevent making errors that could reduce the efficiency of your campaign.
For example, what age range are you targeting? If it’s an older audience, you should include print material, such as leaflets and direct mail, as they may be less likely to engage with promotions online. Alternatively, a younger generation will expect more social media engagement.

Fortunately, audience analysis does not have to be expensive. Browse your charity’s followers on social media platforms to get an idea of gender, interests and likes. Then, create a short, insightful survey to send out to those on your current email lists for free.

3. Determine your campaign’s message

You must opt for a specific and strong campaign message to ensure that you get the return-on-investment you wish to achieve. How do you want people to react when they see your campaign? Your marketing message is far broader than the goal, including aspects such as: the issue your charity wishes to solve, how you plan to do this, and how your audience can participate to achieve the desired result.

While discussing your marketing message, decide how your organisation differs from others. For example, the organisation, Charity: Water, details real-life case studies of those that the charity has assisted. By using photos and videos, the charity personalises its campaign, encouraging its audience to donate by showing, not telling, them how their donations can help.

For free, you can use a smartphone to video and photograph something insightful and thought-provoking — such as an interview with a recipient of your charity’s goodwill, or a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing your volunteers’ hard work. Upload these to your charity’s YouTube channel and social media outlets at no cost and help promote your message.

4. Write effective and inspiring content

You don’t need to hire a professional to create successful campaign content — simply try it yourself! In this modern world of online engagement, you must make your content pithy — don’t use too many long words and sentences, and always maintain an approachable, friendly tone.

While images are excellent for showing what your charity does day by day, these are nothing without emotive and descriptive copy. Come up with a powerful tagline and share it on Twitter and Facebook at the end of your updates and Tweets — for example, ‘Likes don’t save lives’, from UNICEF Sweden, helped to bring the essence of charity to a social media audience.
Even when handling sensitive issues, try to use positive and hopeful language to show people that change is possible.

5. Implement effective distribution methods

It’s beneficial to incorporate both print and digital in your charity marketing strategy in order to achieve full engagement with limited financial waste. Print inspires loyalty and it has a longer lifespan than an online ad that most of us click away from rather quickly. Chat to print companies and try to negotiate a leaflet or poster deal.

Alternatively, utilise free online platforms to share key information and images. The Salvation Army used the fame of the #Dressgate hashtag in 2015 to spread awareness of domestic violence and achieved great success, with more than 16,000 retweets soon after launching. Ask your followers for retweets and Facebook shares to increase the spread of your campaign, and make sure you maintain a responsive, engaging persona by answering comments posed by your social media audience.

This article was created by Where the Trade Buys, a UK commercial print marketing company.

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