A guide for charities: how to launch a successful marketing campaign with a modest budget

Creating a successful marketing campaign whilst keeping costs down is a challenge, particularly for charities. While some charities might be able to use services similar to this jax digital marketing agency, many others may want to try their hand at setting up their own marketing campaigns. Taking the lead from other foundations and charities like The Dwoskin Family Foundation can help you to make a difference in the same way that others have. It’s not a bad thing to feel inspired by other charities that can do the same thing that you do. If you’re looking for ways to create and launch a successful marketing campaign for your charity, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you follow a cost-effective path to achieve your marketing goals.

Understand your audience

Knowing who your target market is and how to reach them, is what will drive your campaign forward. Research your charity’s current donors to find out their interests, likes and motivations to help you create a marketing strategy by using your website’s analytics and metrics, checking out social media accounts, and sending out a postal survey.

Keeping abreast of with any relevant social and economic factors that might affect people donating to your organisation is key. Although this research might present obstacles, at least you can find out a way to overcome them now, rather than when you’re trying to run a busy marketing campaign, which might incur more costs.

What are your marketing objectives?

Outlining clear marketing targets for everyone working on the campaign will help all involved avoid spending money unnecessarily. Many charities launch campaigns to boost donations, attract new fundraisers and improve people’s awareness of what they do. Anything is achievable as long as everyone on the campaign is moving towards the same goal. Remember to make your objectives precise, measurable and realistic.

Outline your campaign’s key messages

Key marketing decisions are made easier if you can sum up your campaign in as few words as possible. What do you want people to take away from your campaign? Decide on your main marketing message and let it lead everything you do.

A charitable organisation is the US: water, dedicates a section of its website to real-life stories of people it helps, and is renowned for its vivid images and poignant videos. Perhaps you could do something similar by coming up with a strong narrative relevant to your organisation and what it does? Interview people you’ve helped (if possible), take pictures and even do a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity. Put professionally taken photos on a pull-up banner and launch your case study on social media to help spread your campaign in a creative and interesting way. After all, showing people what your charity can do is far more effective than just telling them.

Campaign content has a key part to play

Videos and photos tend to be preferable to reading copy. Despite this, campaign content is still a critical part of the success of a marketing strategy. Imagery is 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. But always keep up a friendly, personable persona that your audience can identify and engage with – think chatty, familiar and approachable.

How will you reach your audience?

You’ve got your campaign plan organised and you’re confident about it, now it’s time to get it out there – but how? Print marketing is one of several avenues you can take. Four fifths 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. 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.

Social media is cost effective and can really help spread your campaign message to your audience. 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. 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. This shows how effective these platforms can be when it comes to marketing a charity.

Is additional funding possible?

The guidance relayed above will help your charity plana cost effective marketing campaign, but you might also want to gather extra money to help you on your campaign journey.

Did you know that almost 30% of lottery ticket sales are donated to charitable organisations that could help your marketing strategy? Many companies choose to donate to a good cause for both philanthropic reasons and to boost staff morale in the workplace. Grant-making foundations are another route you could take. There are thousands of these across the country and they have given billions of pounds to charities, but if you want to contact local government, the level of budget and support differs depending on where your organisation is based. Of course, you can always ask the public to help. The general public provides about 35% of voluntary sector income, according to Company Giving, while government-introduced measures – such as Gift Aid (charities can claim back tax from donations) and Payroll Giving (employees donate automatically from their monthly wage) – are also incentives to donate more.

Hopefully we’ve demonstrated that it certainly is achievable to create a quality marketing campaign on a budget. If you’re part of a charity that wants to launch a marketing campaign, bear the above advice in mind to help you keep costs low.

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