5 ways cash-strapped charities can run a killer campaign

5 ways cash-strapped charities can run a killer campaign

With their huge budgets and access to celebrity endorsements, large charities seem to have a huge advantage over smaller ones when it comes to running effective digital campaigns.

However, as you’ll see below, combining smart marketing strategies with the power of social media and modern tech can level the playing field and drive impressive campaign results.

Here are five digital marketing tips any charity can benefit from:

1. Define one smart campaign goal

While bigger charities can afford to be a bit more woolly with their campaign goals, this is not a luxury that small charities can afford. By defining one clear goal, you can both increase the effectiveness of your campaigns and track results for continual improvement.

A campaign goal should be realistic and specific. For example, your target could be to reach a specific fundraising target, to increase website traffic or to boost the number of followers on a specific social media platform.

Campaign goals must also be measurable. For web-based campaigns, Google Analytics provides a wealth of data and for paid ads AdWords and Facebook ads also offer great data visibility.

2. Research your target audience

When you have a limited budget, it is important to focus your messages keenly on your target market.

Professional market research is expensive but there is a lot you can do for yourself to help build up a realistic marketing persona – a portrait of your ideal donor.

Sources of insight include web-based analytics (we've already mentioned Google Analytics), social media engagement statistics and the results of supporter surveys. Depending on the sector, there is also likely to be some overlap between small, regional organisations and big national charities.

Could you organise a small focus group at a local venue and provide refreshments? What about running some free online polls? Strategies like these can further help you to define the likes, dislikes, demographics and online behaviour of your perfect supporter so that you can target your activity and yield better results.

3. Refine your marketing message

Once you have a clear campaign goal and a defined view of your audience you can tie these together with a carefully crafted marketing campaign.

Based on your research, you should know what types of content they like to engage with, where they like to 'hang out' and when they are most receptive to new information.

What do you want your visitors to think about? What actions do you want them to take? Keep your messages clear, simple and memorable and you can boost your campaign results to impressive levels.

4. Make use of social media (including Instagram!)

If you're not using social media to spread your campaign messages you are missing a trick. Some social media platforms, notably Facebook, even provide free tools to help charities and nonprofits reach their audiences.

One platform which is really making a name for itself in the charity sector at the moment is Instagram due to its ability to reach and connect with a young audience. Instagram can also enable nonprofits to share visually striking content designed to engage on a very human level.

According to a 2017 research study by econsultancy, Instagram has double the audience of Twitter with 51% of users accessing the platform daily and 35% checking their feeds several times per day.

Although the headline stories usually involve large global charities and their celebrity links, there are plenty of examples of modest UK-based nonprofits finding success with carefully created Instagram content.

An example is MacMillan Cancer Support which uses Instagram to promote its long-running Coffee Morning campaign. The charity uses Insta's highly visual platform to showcase products that people can buy. They also reduce their own campaign costs by encouraging user-generated content.

5. Tune your content to a digital audience

The popularity of Instagram campaigns highlights the need to constantly tune your message to the preferences of a digital audience. For a number of years there has been an increase in the popularity of online video content fuelled by the affordability of smartphones with powerful cameras and the creation of free video-sharing platforms.

By combining a strong, emotive message with the latest digital tech and the power of social media, there is no reason your charity or nonprofit can't compete with the big players.

Topic: Charity web design

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