Marketing for charity
Marketing for a charitable entity can be difficult.
On one hand, you need to get the word out about your organisation and its work to bring in donations and new members.
But on the other hand, you don’t want to come across as too self-promoting or aggressive in your marketing efforts.
So how do you find the right balance?
When done correctly, marketing for charities can be incredibly effective in raising awareness and funds
In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips for marketing your charity effectively.
Why is marketing important for a charity?
At its core, marketing is about raising awareness for your product or services.
And when it comes to charities, raising awareness is incredibly important – many people still don’t know what charities are out there or what they do.
That’s why marketing is so important for charities – it’s a way to reach new people and educate them about what your nonprofit organisation does and how they can help.
First, define your charities objectives
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, the marketing strategy will differ.
For example, raising awareness of your charitable organisation will require different marketing techniques for a campaign trying to raise funds.
Be sure to sit down and map out your objectives and goals before starting your marketing efforts.
This will help your charity’s marketing efforts stay on course and ensure that your marketing strategy is contributing towards a common goal.
Marketing strategies for your charity
After defining your organisations’ desired outcomes, your attention should now turn to what marketing channels will help achieve this.
Whether it is a fundraising campaign or trying to raise awareness about a certain topic or initiative, there will be a marketing strategy to assist.
Marketing for charities and nonprofits comes with a range of challenges not faced by other industries.
For example, how do you make your charity’s work resonate with potential donors or sponsors?
Or how can you get people to care about an issue when they’re bombarded with information daily?
It takes creativity and thoughtfulness to break through the noise and reach your target audience
Some common marketing strategies for charities include:
– PR and publicity
– Event marketing
– Digital marketing
Each of these channels has its strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to tailor your marketing strategy accordingly.
In this article, we will delve into each marketing strategy and the channels within to help you decide if suitable for your charity marketing.
What is a marketing strategy for a charity?
Broadly speaking, a marketing strategy can be defined as the plan of action that will be used to achieve the desired outcome
In the context of charity marketing, this would be raising awareness or fundraising campaigns for your organisation.
A successful marketing strategy will take into account who your target audience is, what mediums will reach them most effectively and what tactics will entice them to donate or get involved.
Digital Marketing Strategy for charities
As the world moves further online, so does the need to have a presence there.
A powerful digital marketing strategy can enable you to get in front of your target audience.
It helps your non-profit boost its website visitors by boosting online visibility on search engines through typically one of two methods.
Search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation or SEO for short is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website or web page in search engine results pages (SERPs)
This is done by increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to a site from search engines, ideally resulting in increased revenue.
An effective SEO strategy for charities will require the right mix of on-page and off-page optimisation techniques.
Content creation is a key pillar for SEO and should be in your nonprofit marketing efforts.
Depending on your target audience and topic for your non-profit, this could be in the form of blog content, video content, or even imagery such as infographics.
Why is SEO is a good marketing strategy?
There are many reasons why SEO should be a key consideration for nonprofit organisations when it comes to marketing.
It is a popular marketing tactic for charities and companies alike due to several factors.
- It is cost-effective – Once your SEO campaign is in full swing, the ROI is like no other.
- Long-lasting results – Unlike other marketing tactics such as paid advertising, SEO results can take their time to come to fruition but they are typically long lasting.
- It is scalable – You can easily increase or decrease the intensity of your SEO campaign depending on the results you are seeing.
- It can be measured and tracked – By being able to measure data, you can understand what is working and what isn’t. This data can then be used to improve your campaigns and overall results.
Although SEO has huge benefits there are some things to consider;
- Results take time – Unlike other marketing tactics, SEO results can take time to come to fruition. However, they are typically long lasting so the wait is worth it.
- You need to be patient – SEO isn’t a ‘set and forget’ tactic. The results will only come if you continue to put in the hard work.
- Not all businesses are equal online – If your non-profit is competing against well-known brands, then a more strategic approach is needed than less competitive sectors.
Paid Online advertising for Charities
Popular online advertising methods such as Google ads, Facebook ads, and LinkedIn ads can be a great way to reach your target audience.
They allow you to specifically target potential customers based on demographics such as age, location, and interests.
Digital marketing strategies such as paid advertising are very appealing due to their ability to give you instant visibility.
This is particularly beneficial if your nonprofit marketing campaign has a limited window and needs maximum exposure on its topic.
Google Ad Grants for PPC
Now what we are about to tell you may sound too good to be true. But in truth many charities are already utilising Google Ads grants in their marketing plan.
The search engine monster Google itself offers grants to nonprofit organisations of up to £7,000 per month, to be used in its Google Ads platform.
£7,000 of paid ads, for free.
Google itself states they do this to help not for profits ‘Grow awareness, attract donors and recruit new volunteers’ through using its digital marketing platform as part of the charities’ wider marketing strategy.
Essentially, this allows charity websites to increase awareness of their causes by appearing at the top of Google search results with no cost incurred.
Of course, this grant puts some powerful digital marketing tools in the hands of your nonprofit organisation. However, you may feel that your team lacks the digital marketing skills needed to maximise your exposure with a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.
In this case, it may be a good idea at hiring a digital marketing agency that can work alongside your team. They can understand your digital marketing strategy, and ensure that your ads show to your desired target audiences.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing for nonprofit organisations can be one of the most efficient and persuasive ways to reach your target audiences.
It not only allows you to connect with individuals who care about your issue, but it may also help you form a community of people that are passionate about your message.
The most significant advantage of forming a community is that it establishes relationships by allowing you to interact with and reply to your followers on social media.
This two-way communication allows potential donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders to feel more connected to your nonprofit organisation.
Plus, social media platforms are free to use.
How should charities use social media?
A complete profile
The first step is to ensure your social media profiles are complete and up-to-date. This means having a profile picture, cover photo, and biography that accurately represents your organisation.
Having some of the above items missing can create mistrust in your charity.
Remember, social media is all about engaging with your followers. So make sure to post content that will provoke discussion and inspire people to share it with their wider audience.
A great way to create engaging content is video marketing.
Videography is a vital tool in your digital marketing strategy to convey your message. Videos can engage and feel more personable than a standard social media post.
For example, imagine your nonprofit community centre is using social media to encourage donations to its fundraising campaigns. The campaign is aiming to raise money to keep open its multiple groups that service for the local area.
The first option is a social media post containing;
- High-quality resolution image of one of the classes you wish to raise money for.
- An engaging caption underneath the image describing what is needed and why.
Option two is a video social post that;
- Shows 2 to 3 of the various classes you wish people to donate money for
- Brief interviews from the event attendees describing what the classes do for people in the local area
- Interview snippets from your leadership team describing the impact of what can be achieved with their fundraising efforts.
Same topic, but one has significantly more value for people to engage and understand your message.
This is why video marketing is becoming more and more a key component of any great marketing strategy.
PS. Remember to use quality images and videos in your social media posts.
There is nothing like a pixelated post to devalue your message!
Now we have described the benefits of using social media as part of your nonprofit’s digital strategy.
However, we never said it was easy!
There are plenty of reasons why your charity marketing strategy may seek to raise awareness elsewhere.
Cons of social media marketing
- It requires time and effort to create persuasive content – Research, creation of images and captions can quickly become a full-time job.
- People can be negative – Not everyone will agree with your message, and some trolls will cause havoc for no reason at all.
- You need a strong following before seeing results – Building an audience takes time, and it’s easy to become disheartened if you’re not seeing the results you want straight away.
PR and Publicity
There will always be a need for good PR and publicity for your charity.
PR can be a huge exposure factor for both a digital strategy and offline mediums.
Things like press releases, media coverage, and face-to-face meetings are all great opportunities to get your story out there.
The hardest part of PR however can be coming up with unique marketing angles that have the desired effect when marketing for charity.
Remember to always stay positive and persuasive in your content, as this is what will help you connect with people on an emotional level.
One method of PR marketing that can be extremely successful, is guerilla marketing.
This is where you take on a more creative and daring approach to advertising your charity
Some great examples of successful guerilla charity marketing campaigns include;
– The Ice Bucket Challenge
– The No-Makeup Selfie
– March for Our Lives
All of these campaigns managed to go viral, due to their creative and daring nature.
Event marketing for charity
Events are a great way to bring people together and raise awareness for your charity.
For nonprofit organisations, hosting events to raise funds for their causes has always been part of the institution.
Most charitable events involve items donated by other parties. Those donated items are then put up for auction where attendees can bid to win.
The winning bids are then collected as donations by the charity and can be used to help further their cause.
Using these methods to collect donations is ingrained in nonprofit marketing for many years.
The benefits of event marketing for nonprofits include;
- Events create a sense of community and togetherness
- Events can raise awareness for your charity – This is especially true if you manage to get media coverage for your event.
- Events are great opportunity to collect donations – As mentioned earlier, this is one of the primary reasons why events are held
- They are great opportunities for networking
- They can help to raise awareness for your charity
- They can be used to generate publicity
Events, when done correctly, can be extremely successful in helping a charity achieve its goals.
Cons of event marketing for nonprofits include;
- They can be expensive to organise
- They require a lot of time and effort to plan
- A lot of investment must be made before being able to analyse the success
- They can be difficult to organise logistically
Despite these potential drawbacks, events are an excellent way for charities to connect with their target audiences and raise money to support their cause.
Marketing for charity – Conclusion
When it comes to marketing for charity, there are several ways to formulate a successful marketing plan.
Whether it is through digital marketing, social channels, or offline methods such as events, your nonprofit has plenty of proven avenues to deliver its key messages.
However, it is essential that you have an experienced team in place for your marketing efforts, whether that be digital marketing trying to get you visible on Google search, or an expert in social channels building communities.
Different audiences will also require varied approaches. An expert will research your targeted audience to deliver tailored content that will encourage people to engage with your charity.
In summary, marketing for charity is a huge undertaking.
But when done correctly, it can be extremely fruitful in achieving your organisation’s goals.