Designing and driving a successful campaign for your charity

How can you create an effective marketing campaign on a budget? Charities don’t have buckets of cash to dip into when it comes to marketing — but that doesn’t mean they can’t make something memorable to achieve their marketing goals.

For help and guidance, read our step-by-step run-through of marketing for a charity on a budget and pick up some tips you can use yourself.

What is the goal?

The first step to creating a successful marketing campaign is determining your main goals. Not only will this make your campaign easier to manage, but it’ll also prevent unnecessary spending.

What are you trying to achieve? More regular donations? More authority and awareness of your organisation? Anything is achievable as long as everyone on the campaign is moving towards the same goal. Just remember to make your objectives precise, measurable and realistic.

How to fund your campaign

There are several avenues you can go down to get funding for your marketing campaign, including:

  • Lottery — approximately 28% of lottery ticket sales are given to charities.
  • Local government — good for local organisations, but amount of donation depends on where you’re based.
  • General public — according to Company Giving, funds from the public account for about 35% of voluntary sector income, while incentives like Payroll Giving (employees donate automatically from their monthly wage) and Gift Aid (charities can claim back tax from donations) encourage donations.
  • Companies: corporate donations are growing, so this might be a good place to target.
  • Trusts: billions are donated by grant-making foundations.

Know who you’re targeting

Now, take a good look at what might affect your campaign and its target audience. Are there any social or economic factors that could hinder your campaign? No matter what issues you discover, being aware means that you have a greater chance of overcoming them without having to start over, which is costly.

In order to develop a clear and effective marketing campaign, you need to know your target audience. You can research this by looking at your current donors to find out their interests and motivations to help you create a marketing strategy. How? There are a few ways, including:

  • Using your website’s analytics and metrics.
  • Checking out social media accounts.
  • Hosting a postal or email survey.

What are you trying to say?

What is the central message you want to convey? If nothing else, what do you want your target audience to take away from your campaign? Get together with your marketing team and draft ideas regarding what you want to do to achieve your marketing goal.

Narratives of real people tend to be successful marketing tactics for charitable organisations. For example; 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 has your charity helped others since you started? Conduct interviews, take photos and even do a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity. Good photos and insightful case studies make excellent pamphlets and leaflets that you can post around your local area. After all, showing people what your charity can do is far more effective than just telling them.

Creative copy

Capturing free photos and videos on your smartphone is a clever tactic when creating a cost-effective marketing campaign, but these need strong and emotive content to back them up and really drive home a message. 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. Taglines like these jump off print marketing products like flyers and posters. If you pair with a striking image, you massively increase your chances of marketing success.

Remember: if you want to engage with your audience, it’s best to be chatty, friendly and light-hearted throughout.

Getting your campaign out there

You can come up with the most creative and engaging marketing campaign, but if you don’t get your message heard by the relevant people in the right place, you won’t make a success of it. Print marketing products including leaflets, pull-up banners and brochures are ideal for distributing around an area and attracting attention.

According to a report by the Institute of Fundraising, nearly 80% of charitable donations come from direct mail. 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. Since print is such a popular marketing channel for charities, 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.

Give social media a try, if you want an avenue that’s free, easy and quick. 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. Social networks are typically very good at promoting charitable organisations. 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.

Creating an effective marketing campaign on a strict budget is not easy, but it’s certainly achievable. Keep these tips in mind before you start planning your next strategy.


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