Here’s How to Market Your Non-Profit on a Budget

Marketing is often associated with vast amounts of cash and expensive publicity stunts, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you work for a charity, you can create and launch an effective marketing campaign on any budget — regardless of your marketing goal.

Here to explain how is the team at Where the Trade Buys, a leading UK print company, with a step-by-step guide to help you market your charity on a budget.

Extra funding before you start

We’re going to go through the money-saving tactics you can employ when designing a marketing strategy for a charity. However, if you want to find out where you could find financial assistance before you start, we recommend:

Businesses: donating boosts goodwill and staff morale, so corporate donations are growing in popularity.

Public: government-introduced measures, such as Gift Aid (charities can claim back tax from donations) and Payroll Giving (employees donate automatically from their monthly wage), give people an even greater incentive to donate. According to Company Giving, funds from the public account for over a third of voluntary sector income.

Lottery: about 28% of lottery ticket sales are given to charities.

Trusts: donate billions of pounds to charities and there are thousands to choose from across the UK.

Local government: allocate funds to various charities, but the level of budget and support differs depending on where your organisation is based. Browse a list of local authorities for more information.

Your campaign aims

It’s critical that you decide what you wish to achieve with your campaign before doing anything else — after all, this decision should guide everything else. Not only will this make your campaign easier to manage, but it’ll also prevent unnecessary spending.

Charities launch marketing campaigns for a multitude of reasons. Do you want to attract more regular donors? Want to hit a fundraising target? Need to improve your organisation’s online authority? 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.

Who is your audience and why it’s important to know

Only when you have determined your marketing goal should you start carrying out audience research — another critical step in the process. You need to understand your audience, know their backgrounds and preferences, and be aware of social and economic factors that might affect them donating to your organisation. No matter what issues you discover you face, being aware means you have a much greater chance of overcoming them without having to start over, which is costly.

But how do you start finding out more about your audience? There are plenty of ways, but we suggest researching current donors to find out their interests, likes and motivations to help you create a marketing strategy that they’ll want to engage with. Check out your social media platforms to see which content your followers enjoy and use your website’s analytics or an email survey to find out more for free!

Main message: how do you want people to recognise your campaign?

Your marketing goal is crucial to your campaign, but establishing the message also plays an influential part in its success. Your marketing message is essentially how you engage with your audience, portray your organisation and encourage people to get on board. Some of the most powerful charity marketing campaigns have succeeded due to how they tell a story pertaining to the organisation. 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.

Why don’t you show the world how your organisation helps others in order to personalise your campaign? Do this for free by carrying out interviews, taking pictures on your smartphone and even scripting a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity. Good photos and insightful case studies don’t have to come at a cost, and they can be used to create 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.

Writing effective campaign content

There’s certainly been a shift towards using video and photographic content to push a message or boost a marketing campaign. Plus, you can capture these for free without the need of expensive equipment. However, images are nothing without strong, emotive and informative copy to support them. 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.

As a charity, you’re possibly dealing with sensitive issues. However, try not to let this affect your content — which should be chatty, friendly, hopeful, and light-hearted in order to engage with your audience.

Getting your campaign to the public

Print marketing is great for reaching out to an audience with a personal, professional touch. However, social media is also a fantastic tool for engaging with your audience for free. 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 to ‘spread the word’.

Increasingly, non-profit organisations use online platforms to launch and maintain a staller 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.

Alternatively, or as well as, you can negotiate great deals with printing ads to capture your audience members who aren’t as active online. If you want to drive a more tangible and localised marketing campaign, products including leaflets and brochures are ideal. Nearly 80% of charitable donations come from direct mail, according to a report by the Institute of Fundraising. 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.

Using a mix of digital and print marketing tactics is a shrewd move when designing a cost-effective marketing strategy for a charity. Use the money-saving techniques above when launching your own campaign.


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