A Guide to Successful Charity Marketing


When you have limited cash, creating a marketing campaign that works can seem difficult. However, it doesn’t have to be. 

There are plenty of cost-effective methods you can adopt in order to promote your non-profit organisation. In this guide, we look at how you can launch a successful campaign with high engagement potential and save cash at the same time.

Main message

First of all, you need to sit down with your team and decide what your message is — in other words, what is the problem you want to solve, the answer that you suggest and the action the audience can take within your campaign.

A large part of your message is how you plan to improve engagement and inspire people to act the way you want them to? One successful way that has worked for many charities is by showing, not telling. 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.

Here are a few tips for creating a solid marketing message that speaks to your audience:

  • Video an interview with a donator.
  • Take photos to document how your charity helps.
  • Share on updates and images on social media.
  • Carry out a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity.

Powerful photos and poignant case studies make excellent pamphlets and leaflets that you can post around your local area. The content you use is all part of the marketing message, as it’s what people will associate with your charity and compel them to engage or not.

Goals and objectives

We recommend that you collaborate with your team to decide on a single marketing goal and write it down to make sure you stick to it throughout your campaign. 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.

Marketing objectives can include:

  • Driving more social media engagement.
  • Improving your organisation’s online authority.
  • Hitting fundraising targets.
  • Gaining more donors.
  • Launching a charity event.

The stronger and clearer the marketing goal, the less chance you’ll waste cash on costly errors and a weakened strategy.

Who are you targeting

Getting to grips with your audience, their likes, motivations and concerns is essential to maintaining a strong and successful campaign. You need to understand your audience, know your marketing objective, and be aware of social and economic factors that might affect people donating to your organisation. No matter what issues you face, being aware means you have a much greater chance of overcoming them without having to start over, which is costly.

To start learning about your audience, start by discovering their typical ages, gender, interests, likes, and motivations using your website’s analytics. Then, use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn who is following your charity. Do you write blogs? Your Google Analytics data will tell you what type of content is popular on your site, so you have a better understanding of what people are wanting to read from you. Also, don’t forget to make the most your email list. Send a survey to these contacts for a better understanding of who they are for free.

Copy and visual content

Most of us have a smartphone or at least access to one, which makes creating quality visual content much cheaper and simpler than ever before. You can use the camera on your smartphone to capture quality video and photo content that you can use on social media, your website, and for publication in newspapers or magazines. But images are nothing without strong, emotive and informative copy to support them. Make sure your copy is punchy and powerful with a strong key message — such as: ‘Likes don’t save lives’ from UNICEF Sweden. Taglines like these jump off print marketing products.

Admittedly, your charity may be handling sensitive issues. However, try not to make the tone of your language too dour or despondent. No matter where people view your content, you need to keep it chatty, familiar, hopeful and light-hearted — optimism might be the determining factor in someone choosing to donate to a cause they believe will help.

Spreading your campaign while saving cash

Print marketing offers you a tangible, personal way to reach out to your audience and shouldn’t be overlooked. There are posters, flyers and roll-up banners to consider, as well as other forms of print, such as direct mail. 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.

As you’re pushing the print marketing side of your campaign, you should maintain an active and vibrant presence online in order to drive your campaign 24/7. Use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your material without spending any cash. This tactic has also proved successful in the past for other charities. 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.

Of course, if you need a hand getting your campaign out there, why not try one of the following avenues of funding: 

  • Local government. 
  • Public. 
  • Lottery.
  • Grant-making trusts.
  • Business. 

Slash the costs of your next charity marketing campaign with these money-saving tips.






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