Marketing a charity – the do’s and don’ts

Charity marketing is involved.  You need to capture the emotions of the audience without being too manipulative and too exploitative. A great marketing strategy will include high-quality posters, this much is simple, but what images, what words, where should you place them, what should you ask of your audience? There are so many ways to get it as wrong as you get it right.  Here we offer a guide to the do and don’ts of charity marketing.

PPC for free with Google Ad Grants

There is no need for a non-profit organisation to rule out pay-per-click marketing.  It might feel like a strategy that will reduce the money going to your charity.  First, the return on such marketing is astonishing.  Therefore, the money you get back will far exceed the money you invest.  Secondly, you may not need to pay for the clicks.  There is a Google’s Ad Grants program that gives free money to non-profits to advertise on this search engine.  Google is choosing to give to charity as part of ethical trading and as a means of offsetting taxation.  The charity is the real benefactor though, as getting to the top of the Google search list is a prize worth fighting for.

Videos awaken emotions

When you speak about the problems of the world, you depend on the imagination of the audience.  You can use the most potent rhetoric but with limited effect, if the listener is not fully and actively engaged.  Why take this risk? Some of the most powerful TEDtalks are those supported with video.  If you are going to introduce the water crisis as a global challenge, use video to show the listener the intense impact of our abuse of our freshwater supplies.  You are more likely to make someone cry with video – and the only place they will know to reach is for their bank card.

If you are worried that high-quality video can be expensive to produce, check out the wonders you can create on an iPhone today.

Promote your social media posts

Social media is an excellent platform for communicating your message.  However, it is also a noisy place.  There are literally billions of people looking to get noticed – and a few tens of thousands of these are charities.  Therefore, no matter how much thought and creativity you put into your social media campaign, it might not get noticed.  Consequently, you might find allocating a small budget to promoting your posts and holding them at the top of feeds could make a significant impact.

Promoting your post on Facebook can cost on a few pounds – but with the granular targeting options offered on social media – you can hit exactly the right people for your campaign.  For instance, if you are raising awareness and funds for underprivileged children, social media sites will help you to target young mothers on a specific salary.  They can even help you pick out those mothers who are interested in social change.

The Facebook “Donate Now” button

Since 2015, Facebook has allowed users to add a “Donate Now” call to action button to their Facebook page.  If you have produced a successful social media post and people click through to learn more, they have the chance to donate straight away on the site.  Any salesperson will tell you that shortening any journey from instigating interest to payment is essential to successful conversion.

You can also apply to be a charity that users nominate as their birthday contribution.  People who know a lot of people who would want to mark their birthday but are not close can instead send money to a nominated charity.  Not only does this take the onus off the organisation always asking for money, but it acts as a testimonial for the work your charity does.

Seek out influencers

Ply your network to see if there is anyone influential who might support your cause.  You might not know any B list celebrities, but you might know someone who knows someone.  Remember six degrees of separation – this means that there are only six people between you and some of the most famous people on the planet.  If you can get someone with a large following to advocate for your cause, this champion will do more for your online profile than any other form of marketing.  Not only is the support organic, but the reputation of the celebrity endorses your cause. 

Get out there and speak to people

Finally, and probably one you will reluctantly embrace, get out there and talk to lots of people.  Apply to events and get up on stage and sell your passion for your cause.  Your belief in your charity is likely to be the most important investment you can make.

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