Budgets for charitable, community and other not-for profit organisations are always tight, sometimes non-existent. But there are ways to market that don’t cost the earth and, if there are funds to use, they must be spent wisely to gain maximum traction.
Below are a few basic tips we pass on to all our third sector clients:
One Direction. Have a clear vision about what your organisation is, what it represents and what its aims are. Then ensure all stakeholders know this and that all marketing conveys the same messages.
Opportunity Knocks. If you’re changing anything, such as the logo or brand ensure you make the most of the launch. It won’t happen very often, so use as many of your contacts as possible to spread the word – BUT the rebrand should be complementary to the issues of what you do and the expansion.
Promote What You Do. It may be a subject, but it is likely vital to those you provide it to. Publish numbers of calls taken, people helped etc.
Point of View. Assess all your public-facing materiel from the point of view of the people you support; your target audience. Everything must resonate with them. It’s important to appeal to donors and other stakeholders but in almost all cases the users should be your focus.
Make Your Website Work Harder. Its primary aim is and should be, to help and support those in need. But it should also work hard to seek donations. Accomplishments should be added, examples of the work you do, feedback from those you’ve helped, even testimonials or talking heads from those that do support or contribute saying why they do. People can then recognise the results of their contributions.
Measure Spend. If you are spending on marketing make sure you are able to measure it in both response and financial terms. It’s easy to spend marketing budgets, but without putting some form of measurement on it, it can be hugely wasteful.
Try Something New. If you have a new idea for marketing, it’s affordable and it meets your core principles, test it. If it works, do it some more. If it doesn’t assess why it didn’t work and try something different.
Social Awareness. Social Media should be embraced, but understand that this takes up time, needs to be on message and that whilst there may be no direct financial cost, time has an inherent cost that can and should be measured.
Socially Awkward. When using Social Media ensure you respond to everything in a timely fashion. Nothing says I don’t care like unanswered questions and it is expected to be more instant than an email query.
Innovate. Don’t be afraid to be innovative in order to create a ‘buzz’, but ensure messages are on target and can’t be misconstrued and used by anyone in a negative way.
Don’t Ask Don’t Get. Ask for favours, freebies, printing, help etc. You’re a charity; most people won’t be insulted, and they will give for a variety of reasons which may not always be immediately obvious. Corporate partners can help stretch budgets enormously and carefully selected patrons can also help you enormously.