How to market your charity on a budget

There are lots of articles out there to help companies drive a successful marketing campaign — but what if you’re a charity with limited funds? Often overlooked, non-profit organisations face the same issues when it comes to creating and executing a successful campaign, yet, they typically have less capital to support them along the way.

Whether you want to raise awareness or boost donations, Where the Trade Buys, a leading UK supplier of booklet printing services, has put together a guide to help you market your charity on a budget.

Where to get funding

As you’re probably already aware, there are several avenues of funding open to charities. Here are some of the best ones for achieving the capital you need for a successful marketing campaign:

  • Public: 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).
  • Business: since donating boosts goodwill and staff morale, corporate donations are growing in popularity.
  • Lottery: about 28% of lottery ticket sales are donated to charities.
  • Trusts: grant-making foundations donate billions of pounds to charitable causes and there are thousands to choose from across the UK.
  • Local government: locally-based authorities 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.

Although these are the major funding sources, there are many more available if you look around.

Research your audience and environment

The first step of any good marketing strategy is to survey the situation. 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 discover you face, being aware means you have a much greater chance of overcoming them without having to start over, which is costly.

Now, find out as much as possible about your audience. Start by researching current donors to find out their interests, likes and motivations to help you create a marketing strategy that they’ll want to engage with. You can do this for free by using your website’s analytics and metrics, checking out social media accounts, or via a postal survey.

Aims

Now it’s time to determine your objectives. 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.

Do you have a fundraising target? Want to attract more regular donors? Need to improve your organisation’s authority? 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.

Key message

Get together with your marketing team and decide on your key message — ideally something short and snappy that sums up your charity. Then, draft ideas regarding what you want to do to achieve your marketing goal.

Some of the most powerful charity marketing campaigns have succeeded due to how they tell a story pertaining to the organisation. 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.

Replicate this in your marketing campaign by collecting case studies of how your work has improved lives. 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.

Spreading your campaign

If you’re marketing on a budget, social media is a fantastic tool to use for free advertising. Use your charity’s online platforms — launch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram if you haven’t already — to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your posts, photos and Tweets.

Social networks are typically successful at promoting charitable organisations. 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.

If you want to drive a more tangible and localised marketing campaign, products including leaflets and brochures are ideal. 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.

If you prefer, you can even combine digital and print marketing methods to maximise your charity’s influence. Since print is such a popular marketing channel for charities, many design and print agencies work closely and often with non-profit organisations. So, don’t hold back from getting in touch and discussing your options.

Campaign content

Video and photographic material are popular formats to share on social media. You can also capture them for free using a smartphone. But images 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 and posters. If you pair with a striking image, you massively increase your chances of marketing success.

Whether in a brochure or online, make sure you maintain a chatty, familiar and light-hearted persona through your content to engage with your audience.

 

Bearing these charity marketing tips in mind should help you save essential funds while achieving your organisation’s goals.

 

Sources:

http://www.companygiving.org.uk/content/help/sources-of-funding.aspx

 https://econsultancy.com/blog/62645-five-tips-for-charities-to-rock-their-digital-marketing

https://fundraising.co.uk/2016/05/23/charity-fundraising-print-importance-direct-mail-infographic/#.We8LHmhSyUk

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/marketing-lessons-from-charitywater/