The world has gone digital, and this also means how we promote our charities relies on how we handle digital platforms, too. When marketing a charity, you typically have little cash to splash around — so what do you do to make a success of it?

Read this step-by-step guide to discover how to run a marketing campaign for your charity without overspending — all while navigating the various digital processes and programs available to you…

Who is your audience and how do you learn more about them?

Like with any marketing campaign, knowing who you’re targeting is critical to the success — or failure. But where do you start researching?

This is a budget-friendly charity campaign, so utilise all free digital platform available to you. You can find out interests, likes and motivations using your website’s analytics, as well as they’re typical gender, age and location. Who’s following your organisation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? These are also people who might engage with your campaign. 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.

Your charity’s social media sites are great places to get free information about your audience’s likes and dislikes to create relevant and engaging content. Look at Facebook and Twitter to find out which posts/tweets get likes and which don’t — this also lets you know what content might work in your campaign. Also, don’t forget to make the most your email list. Fire off a survey to these contacts for a better understanding of who they are.

What is your campaign message and how do you promote it?

What’s your marketing message? Don’t worry, many struggle with this question. Essentially, to work this out, you must ask yourself: how do you want people to think about your charity after you’ve launched your campaign and what do you want people to associate with it? This differs from your campaign goal, as it’s more to do with: the issue you want to solve, the answer that you propose and the action the audience can take.

The more special, detailed and personal to your charity and staff your marketing message, the better. Knowing and hightailing key points about what it does gives your campaign personality and something for an audience to ‘latch onto’. 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.

How do you fortunate a marketing message in an engaging and easily digested way? By creating fun and varied online content. Record interviews, upload pictures, create memes, and even do a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity and upload this to YouTube. After all, showing people what your charity can do is far more effective than just telling them.

Which campaign goals have you chosen?

There’s no escaping the fact that digital platforms have transformed our lives, and they only promise to harbour more influence in the future. In order to create an effective digital marketing strategy, you must create a chief campaign goal and let it guide the rest of your campaign. Going off-course will make it harder to manage your campaign and keep costs down, while deviating from what makes your charity unique could mean accidentally copying another organisation’s idea.

Now, think about which goal you’d like to achieve — this will make it much easier to accomplish it once everyone is aware. Want to hit a fundraising target? Increase followers on your social media accounts? Boost your site’s authority? Drive more traffic to your site? You can do it — just ensure that everyone on the campaign is moving towards the same goal and make your objectives precise, measurable and realistic — Google Analytics is an excellent resource if your goal is web-based.

How are you going to get your campaign out there?

The world of digital has opened the doors to many opportunities for anyone looking to promote a charity or business for a small, or no, cost. Use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your posts, videos, photos and Tweets.

Not convinced that social media can help your charity? Consider this example from 2014, when 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 like, why not invest in print marketing — such as creating posters or booklet printing — to make sure you reach an offline audience at the same time?

What makes effective digital content?

From text and videos, to graphics and photos; there’s a wide mix of content types you can use to your advantage when marketing your charity. Like the idea of videoing interviews or volunteers carrying out their duties? Use your smartphone to create a quick video that people can watch and share easily — video and image content is also free to capture using a smartphone!

Of course, even in 2018 when digital is everywhere, text is still crucial to engaging with an audience — you must merge imagery with strong, emotive and informative copy to support it. Content online varies from words you’d read in a book or in a magazine, so you need to be aware of the differences to maximise on its potential. Online content needs to be punchy, short and powerful.

Forget overly long sentences, incoherent paragraphs and pompous words — your copy must be interesting, chatty, friendly, and optimistic. Place a strong key message — such as the taglines: ‘Likes don’t save lives’ from UNICEF Sweden or ‘Help is a four-legged word’ from Canine Companions — next to a striking image, to increase your chances of engagement.

Of course, we know that charities handle tough issues, but maintain optimism in your digital language and create a sense of ‘can-do’ spirit in your online presence if you want to engage with an audience and encourage them to get on board with your marketing message. A light-hearted persona is key if you want people to carry on reading — nobody wants a lecture when they’re scrolling through Twitter or reading their emails during a break.

How can you achieve additional funding?

For funding options to help you get by, how about trying one of the following sources:

  • General public.
  • Local government.

As we can see, it’s achievable to design, create and run a successful charity marketing campaign on a budget. Follow these digital marketing tips to help cut the costs of creating an effective campaign in 2018.


Charity fundraising and print: the importance of direct mail [INFOGRAPHIC]