Charity marketing campaigns: making yours cost-effective

Launching and running a successful marketing strategy is rarely easy, but when you’re trying to do it on limited funds, it makes the process even harder.

But, is there a way you can design and maintain an effective campaign without overspending? In this guide, we look at the key points you need to consider to ensure you launch a successful campaign, as well as money-saving tactics to help you save cash throughout.

Choose your audience

Social, economic and lifestyle factors can affect who you think your audience is — and remember, the success of any marketing strategy relies on targeting the right audience. No matter what issues you face, being aware means you have a much greater chance of overcoming them without having to start over, which is costly.

Determining your target audience is a lot easier today than it was even a few years ago, thanks to the internet. Find out age, likes, gender, and motivations using your website’s analytics, and use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn who is following your charity. 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. Send a survey to these contacts for a better understanding of who they are.

Assign a purpose to your campaign

Get your marketing team together and work towards defining a campaign objective. Decide what you want to achieve and let that choice guide everything else you do. Not only will this make your campaign easier to manage, but it’ll also prevent unnecessary spending.

If you’re struggling, ask yourself these questions and choose which one suits your charity best?

  • Do I want to improve my organisation’s online authority?
  • Do I want to hit fundraising targets?
  • Do I want to drive more social media engagement?
  • Do I want to attract more donors?
  • Do I want to create a charity event?

If everyone knows which direction they’re moving in and why, you could save a lot on costly mistakes.

Create a detailed marketing message

The marketing message is sometimes the most difficult part of a marketing process. However, it doesn’t have to be and costs nothing to research and plan. Your main marketing message differs from your campaign purpose, as it’s more to do with: the problem you want to solve, the answer that you suggest and the action the audience can take.

Your marketing message needs to encourage engagement. One successful way that has worked for many charities is by showing, not telling, what an organisation does. 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.

You could:

  • Carry out a video interview with a donator.
  • Take photos of your charity at wort and share them on social media.
  • Conduct a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity.

Your marketing message defines what people will associate with your charity and compel them to get involved with your marketing goal or not.

Make your content effective

Smartphones are a godsend for charities looking to promote a strategy on a budget. For no charge, you can use the camera on your smartphone to capture quality video and photo content that you can use on social media, your website, and for publication in newspapers or magazines. But images are nothing without emotive and informative copy to support them. Make sure your copy is punchy and powerful with a strong key message. Use taglines, such as: ‘Help is a four-legged word’ from Canine Companions, on roll-up banners and posters to bring your campaign to life.

Stay chatty, familiar and light-hearted — even when handling sensitive issues — to boost your level of engagement.

Share your campaign

At this stage in your campaign, you might feel as if you must start splashing cash in order to get your charity’s name out there. However, this is not always the case. Engaging with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will encourage people to share your posts, photos and Tweets for free. This tactic has also proved successful in the past for other charities. 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.

Aside from online platforms, print marketing is just as, or even more, effective. 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.

Ideally, a mix of both digital and print strategies will work well to capture a wide audience.

Gain extra funding

For financial assistance, try contacting:

  • Trusts: there are thousands to choose from across the UK.
  • Local government bodies: locally-based authorities allocate funds to various charities, but the level of budget and support differs depending on where your organisation is based.
  • Businesses: corporate donations are growing in popularity.
  • Lottery: almost on third of lottery ticket sales are donated to charities.


Cut the cost of your next marketing campaign with these handy, money-saving tips.



Charity fundraising and print: the importance of direct mail [INFOGRAPHIC]

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