Charity Marketing Strategies: How to Launch a Successful Campaign on a Budget

If you have limitless cash, a devoted marketing team and plenty of time to hash out a decent idea, then marketing a campaign might not be so difficult.

But for many charities across the UK, pooling resources and money to design, launch and distribute a campaign can be tough.

To help your charity overcome this issue and create an effective campaign that achieves all your marketing goals, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide packed with cost-saving tips and marketing advice.

The goal: what do you want from your campaign?

Determining a clear, achievable marketing goal will mean less unnecessary spend and better audience engagement — so sort this part of your marketing planning out first. Decide what you want to achieve and let that choice guide everything else you do.

Are you handling the campaign alone or do you have a team? If you have a team around you, it’s important that you get together and come to a clear conclusion regarding your marketing objectives. Do you need to improve your organisation’s online authority? Hit a fundraising target? Attract more regular donors? Whatever it is, you can achieve it. Just remember to make your objectives precise, measurable and realistic.

Your audience: who is your campaign aimed at?

Your audience’s social and economic situation will affect how they engage with your campaign, as will their ages, gender, likes, dislikes, professions, and much more. There’s a lot to learn, but the key to ensuring that you don’t let avoidable factors harm your campaign is to know about them beforehand — research your key audience (i.e. who you want to attract the interest of) until you know them inside out.

Mixing print and digital methods, you can find out plenty about your audience. Firstly, make the most of social media and online platforms. Google Analytics (if your charity’s website has it) can tell you about your current donors’ behaviour, age and gender, while free-to-use Facebook lets you see exactly who is liking your posts. You can also use a postal survey to find out detailed and direct results. 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. 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.

Successful campaign content and how to create it

Campaign content can include everything from Tweets and poster text, to videos and photos. Imagery is essential and you should try to use graphics, pictures and filmed content as often as possible throughout your campaign.

Videos and photos are increasingly important in the world of marketing due to their ability to grab and retain attention. But these 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 roll-up banners. If you pair with a striking image, you massively increase your chances of marketing success.

Of course, your campaign might be highlighting a danger or unfortunate problem in society, so we understand that a light and fluffy persona might not fit. However, this doesn’t mean that your content should not be friendly, engaging, informal, and hopeful — think of it as if you were chatting to someone in person. Stuffy language and an impersonal tone doesn’t equal a superior strategy, regardless of subject.

Deciding on your key message

Now that you have tone, audience and goal sorted, how about the overall marketing message? A good key message is short and snappy — and perfectly sums up your campaign and charity. It 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. Now, draft ideas regarding what you want to do to achieve your marketing goal using your key message as the central theme.

The best way to achieve a unique and effective marketing message is to consider what your charity actually does — what sets it apart from the rest? 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.

Consider case studies and involving real-life scenarios in your marketing campaign to give it a personal, relatable edge. True stories and images that show how you’ve made a positive difference work well when presented to the public. Carry out interviews, take pictures 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.

Distributing your marketing material

There are many ways you can spread your campaign content once you have it — especially if you have social media channels. Use your charity’s online platforms —Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your posts, photos and Tweets and spread the word. 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.

What about those that aren’t on social media? Despite its popularity, not everyone engages well on these platforms, so you need to consider them too. 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.

Funding sources

You can save lots of cash by following the advice above. However, there are ways you can utilise funding sources. too. Funds from the general public account for about 35% of voluntary sector income, while government-introduced measures — such as Gift and Payroll Giving — incite people to donate even more. Local government bodies and grant-making foundations allocate funds to various charities, but there are also corporation donations that many companies encourage to boost staff morale.

As long as you bear a few of these tips in mind, your organisation will save plenty of money. Check out other helpful articles online before you begin creating your charity marketing strategy on a budget.