Fundraising is the lifeblood of any charity – but how you do get the message out there in the first place? Promoting your charity doesn’t have to cost the earth. We’ve come up with some top tips on how to market your charity without breaking the bank.
1. Be Sociable
It’s an obvious one, perhaps, but social media is the driving force behind the success of many high-profile charity campaigns (ice bucket challenge, anyone?). The nature of these social media successes all have one thing in common: the challenge, event, or message is spread by people who are passionate about the cause.
This means your best chances of standing out in the noise of social media is to create a campaign that means something to everyone. Create a message that hits home on an emotional level, that people can understand. This doesn’t mean you have to pull out the sob stories, though! People respond to positive emotions, too. Finding ways to make people feel good while doing good is the best way to engage your audience.
For example, Macmillan’s coffee mornings have been a national success every year, because it brings people together even if they aren’t directly affected by the charity’s work. It feels good to get together, have a natter, take some time out, and – of course – eat some cake.
2. Be Smart With Your Print Marketing
You may feel that spending money on printed materials is a waste as you can’t measure how successful it is. (Read our blog, “How To Measure Your Print Marketing”, to see why that’s wrong!). Instead, consider it a worthwhile investment.
Print marketing is the number one way to make sure your charity is seen everywhere and anywhere. You could hand out flyers on a busy street, have printed signs for your station fundraisers, and of course have stickers to give to anyone who donates. Wearing a sticker for donating some coins into a bucket = walking advertising for your charity.
3. Put On Events
Events are brilliant for networking, introducing your charity to a new audience, and of course raising money. To promote the event, try handing out flyers in the local area, and have a stack in public areas (with permission!) such as coffee shops, that people can take.
Alternatively, you could print up small cards as tickets. Perhaps run a special campaign: the event is free entry IF you bring the card with you, otherwise you need to pay an entry fee. This does two things. First, you will have people holding onto your printed materials, and probably showing other people so they can pick one up for free entry, too. On the other hand, those that turn up without a card will pay an entry fee – adding to your fundraising efforts.
Events are a great opportunity to connect with local businesses, too. Find out if they will supply prizes for a raffle or silent auction, or if they want to sponsor some or all of the event. For example, for a more formal event such as a charity ball, you could have someone sponsor the drinks reception and include their logo on all the table talkers. Another business could sponsor the dinner, with their logo and contact details on the menu.
4. Run A Direct Mail Legacy Fundraising Campaign
One of the most difficult audiences to reach with digital campaigns is the older generation. They either don’t want to use technology, or have little access to it. This means they miss out on some important messaging from your charity.
Direct mail has so many benefits, such as helping people feel your charity is more trustworthy than ones that only advertise on digital media. People like to receive mail, especially personalised letters that are addressed specifically to them.
It’s tough to talk about, but legacy campaigns are often the backbone of a charity’s annual income. Gifts in wills account for a large proportion of revenue, but it’s often a tricky subject to tackle.
Writing letters with your direct mail campaign allows you to discuss a sensitive issue with a personal approach. Emails just won’t cut it with this: people need to feel like they (and their legacies) are valued and will be well invested when the time comes.
5. Publish Your News
Newsletters and magazines are a great way to engage with your audience. Printed booklets are always well received, especially by charity supporters. It makes them feel like they are valued by the charity – everyone loves to get something in return (even if it is from a good deed). Sending booklets or newsletters works twofold:
1) Your existing supporters will feel informed and valued, likely to continue their support, and
2) Readers can pass on a physical booklet with ease, even to someone who doesn’t have digital access.
You can even include other things with your newsletter, such as posters to promote your latest fundraising event. Your supporters can then put these up in their window or local shop, helping to raise awareness of your charity’s work as well as the event.
Don’t forget to send a Christmas card at the end of the year, too!