Budget-friendly marketing: how to promote your charity with minimum spend

Budget-friendly marketing

In 2018 and beyond, marketing and advertising will grow in importance. If you want to hit a fundraising target, spread the name of your charity or secure more regular donors; you need to design and execute an effective marketing campaign. But how do you achieve this without blowing your entire budget?

For help and advice on cost-effective marketing techniques for your charity, check out this guide to help your organisation succeed.

What are you looking to achieve?

You probably already have a decent idea regarding what you wish to achieve from this new campaign — otherwise, why would you be considering launching it? However, it’s essential to the efficiency of your campaign that you define your main marketing goal. Want to attract more regular donors? Do you have a fundraising target? Need to improve your organisation’s authority? These are all credible, potential goals, but it’s vital that everyone working on the campaign knows which they are working towards.

Spend some time deciding roughly how much time you wish to devote to print and how much you want to invest in digital — both are effective when it comes to getting material to your audience. This is so that everyone is on the same page and there is no unnecessary spending.

How do you define your key message?

Your key message is pivotal to your campaign’s success — so make sure you have a clear idea of what it is. What is the main aspect of your campaign that you want people to know? Strong key messages make your campaign stand out and stick in people’s minds, so it’s important that you get this across in a creative way.

Inject personality into your campaign and you can significantly increase your chances of capturing and engaging with your target audience. 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. This helps to add personality and sets your organisation apart for others.

How about emulating this technique and showing your audience what your charity does? Carry out interviews, take pictures and even do a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity. Place these on your Facebook page or put up posters around your town or city to show your local community how your organisation operates. After all, showing people what your charity can do is far more effective than just telling them.

Who is your audience?

We’ve mentioned that term ‘target audience’ a few times already, and it’s another essential element of your planning process to determine who this is. Don’t have a clear idea of who they are, and you could end up investing in a weak campaign aimed at the wrong person. Start by researching your current donors to find out their interests, likes and motivations. You can do this for free by using your website’s analytics and metrics, checking out social media accounts, or via a postal survey.

What content should you put out with your campaign?

Videos and photos are essential to capturing an audience’s eye in 2018. Luckily, many of us have smartphones and fee apps that we can use to shoot, edit and upload high-quality content for free! Take advantage of this cost-effective way to create engaging content by using yours to capture informative and interesting videos or descriptive photos.

Of course, these are nothing without strong and emotive copy to support them and boost engagement – but how do you write effective marketing copy as a charity? Make sure your content is pithy and powerful with a strong key message — such as: ‘Help is a four-legged word’ from Canine Companions, or ‘Likes don’t save lives’ from UNICEF Sweden. Taglines like these look incredible on print marketing materials where you can’t simply click away or scroll past.

You may be handling a sensitive issue as a charity. However, you should always strive to retain a friendly, approachable persona and optimistic attitude in your campaign copy — stuffy sentences and a demanding tone won’t encourage people to engage with your campaign.

How will you distribute your campaign material?

Now you’ve recorded or written your content, it’s time to get your campaign out there to your audience. Kick-off the distribution side by phoning a few print companies to get a quote on leaflets, banners and anything else you think will work. Some will offer a discount for non-profit organisations, too. Did you know that almost 80% of charitable donations come from direct mail, according to a report by the Institute of Fundraising? This report also stated that print encourages loyalty, with more than 50% of the people surveyed saying that they find print the most credible marketing channel, and 25% keeping printed products for future reference.

Now you’ve secured you’re cost-effective print marketing methods, it’s time to look at digital. Fast and free, you can use your charity’s online platforms — especially Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your posts, photos and Tweets. Past campaigns have also shown how good social media can be at spreading a message. 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 a fortnight, the campaign achieved more than 14,000 social media shares and was covered hundreds of times in the media.

It’s clear that you can organise and fund a quality campaign on a limited budget, but if you’d prefer assistance, contact local businesses and nationwide grant-making trusts for extra help.

This article was researched and created by Where The Trade Buys — a UK leading provider of booklet printing.