Charity digital marketing has always been an extremely difficult tightrope to navigate. Small budgets mean that returns on investment need to be significant. There is a lot of uncertainty. Although some charities have future-proofed, a lot haven’t put these measures in place. Consequently, when the pandemic hit, they suffered significant losses both in terms of time and in terms of revenue.
This shock to the system has encouraged organisations to plan for the future. Charities need to be more financially robust. Implementing effective measures that mitigate the impact of future shocks is a priority. With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, it’s now time to push forward.
Effective digital marketing needs to be at the cornerstone of any marketing strategy for charities. This is because digital marketing answers the two most important questions for any charity.
- What impact is my charity having?
- How can I maximise that impact?
Digital Transformation and Charity Marketing
One of the unexpected adaptations charities have needed to make is embracing new technology into their systems. The digital transformation of the not-for-profit sector was previously moving at a steady pace. However, extenuating circumstances have rapidly increased it. Video-conferencing services have become the new normal. Remote service delivery has been vital.
The digital divide is a big underlying factor in charity marketing. Many charities want to digitalise their services. Often, they don’t always have access to the necessary skills or programmes to enable this. Alternatively, they may want to use technology to make services more efficient and accessible. However, doing this poorly could seriously impact the quality of service and therefore not meet the demands of users.
Every digital transformation roadmap for a charity should focus on 3 key end goals: supporting donor engagement and encouraging further support and donations, improving accessibility and service delivery quality and increasing the impact of day-to-day operations.
To achieve all of these goals, effective digital marketing for charities is paramount.
The Funding Question
Getting the most out of digital marketing is not always easy for charities. There is a huge variety of different digital services, tools and products available for charities. However, only a small number of these will actually have such a significant positive impact that it makes the outlay worthwhile.
A lot of the time, free versions of tools will be available for content creation, editing and social media management. Although these will not be as thorough as other paid services, they will still be effective and the minimised expenses will allow you to focus resources away to a more important project.
As always, charities should spend ample time researching the pros and cons of different platforms and solutions and evaluating their merits. If possible, contact the company providing the service or tool. A lot will offer discounts to charities. It’s always worth asking because the worst they can do is politely say no.
Charity Marketing: Measuring Impact
Digital marketing for charities is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Having a balance of short-term tactical decisions and long-term strategic goals will help you shape and formulate an effective marketing strategy. Your charity must meet challenges and seize opportunities if necessary.
Having a proper benchmarking process is also really important. Whilst charities need to ensure they don’t become bogged down by vanity metrics, it’s necessary to have an open mind about what marketing is working and why it is working. Using a free analytics tool like Google Analytics 4 can help assess where goals are being met and how they are being met.
This can be extremely useful for charities that focus on digital donations because they can reverse-engineer the pathway people take to convert and optimise it where possible. It can also help you spot potential pitfalls within your conversion funnel if you see a significant drop-off at one stage. This means that you can accurately assess which aspects of your charity marketing are having the greatest impact in terms of revenue generation and if necessary divert more resources to these.
The Role of Social Media
At the turn of the last decade, social media was a new phenomenon and was the buzzword for every charity. A lot of charity marketing went into amassing huge followings on Facebook or Twitter, but algorithm changes have rendered these followings relatively redundant. Moreover, the investment into social media has been largely focused on generating noise, rather than a specific goal.
In this decade, however, social media is much more effective for charities when their marketing strategy has a clear call to action baked into the content. Strategies should focus on achieving primary marketing objectives such as data capture and/or donations. Moving away from vanity metrics also forms a core aspect of this.
There is also a push to humanise charity marketing more by putting the impact of your charity at the centre of your marketing. Not only does this create a very powerful message, but it’s also extremely easy to do because you already have the bulk of the content. As your charity is saving time and money on creating content, charity marketing can instead focus on the primary goal of promoting your content to as wide and as relevant an audience as possible.
The Power of Brand
Whether you have a rich visual identity, or you prefer a more minimalist tactic, you need to ensure a few things. Your branding must reflect your charity. Your charity marketing must instil confidence in your supporters so they continue to support your message.
Strong charity branding will also educate new supporters and encourage them to donate and follow you. Most importantly, it has to mark your charity as a unique entity. This will allow you to truly convey the passion and message of your charity.
With the pandemic now over, it’s time to start looking at your branding in a more critical light. Assess what works and what does not fit in for your modern digital image. If you’ve embarked on digital transformation, assess how digital marketing can help make your historic content accessible and also bring it up to date with your charity’s modern brand.
The Final Word
Charities have suffered significantly throughout Coronavirus. However, with the worst of the pandemic behind them, they need to start moving forward. Charity digital marketing is one of the key ways that organisations can do this. It helps with robust digital transformation, brand exploration and judicious social media usage and promotion.
For other charity digital marketing enquiries, or to find out how we can help your not-for-profit organisation, get in touch with Boss Digital today.