Launching a Charity Marketing Campaign Using a Digital Strategy

Marketing opportunities are vast when we employ digital platforms, but then again, so is the competition. When marketing a charity, you typically have little cash to splash around — so what do you do?

To help you navigate the various processes of digital marketing and create a successful campaign for your charity, check out this step-by-step guide which will show you how to run a campaign without overspending.

Campaign goals

From business sites to social platforms, the internet plays a huge role in how we communicate and buy goods in 2018. 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.

There are multiple campaign goals your charity may have, and all are achievable with a detailed strategy plan in place. 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.

Campaign audience

Whether you’re offline or online, conducting target audience research is essential to the success of your campaign. In fact, not doing enough research could scupper your chances of success completely!

There are a host of digital platforms and programs you can use to your advantage when starting a budget-friendly charity campaign. 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.

Never forget social media — this platform is a pool of target audience information that can help you 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.

Campaign message

As soon as you complete your target audience research, it’s time to think about how you’re going to convey your marketing message — and what that is. What do you want people to think about after you’ve launched your campaign? Or, what do you want people to associate with your charity and what it does? 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.

Your message must be unique to your charity — what does it do and who has it helped? Knowing and hightailing these points 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.

As this is a digital campaign, your first port of call should be utilising social media to share photos and comments. If you also invest in booklet printing, you can get these to people offline, too. 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.

Spreading the word

Again, social media is ideal for quickly getting a campaign message to a lot of people — but other free digital platforms are handy, too. Use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your posts, videos, photos and Tweets.

Looking at past examples, it’s clear that social media is well suited to boosting a charity’s campaign. 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.

Effective digital content

Content in marketing comes in a variety of forms, from video and text, to photos and infographics. 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!

Snapping insightful images and uploading quality videos are essential to marketing a charity in 2018 — but never think that text is not important, too. 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.

An online audience won’t devote time to long sentences, unintelligible paragraphs and tough, unnecessary words. 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.

Granted, your charity might handle sensitive issues, but try and refrain from being too serious in your tone and content during your campaign. Digital copy must retain a chatty, familiar tone at all times. 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.

Additional funding

Looking for a helping hand before you get started? Here are some funding options.

  • Local government: browse a list of local authorities for more information on funding across the UK.
  • Public: according to Company Giving, funds from the general public account for about 35% of voluntary sector income.
  • Business: since donating boosts goodwill and staff morale, corporate donations are growing in popularity.
  • Lottery: nearly 30% of lottery ticket sales are donated to charities.

Charities typically have little spare cash, but this guide shows that you can launch and run a successful marketing campaign easily. Follow these digital marketing tips to help cut the costs of creating an effective campaign.