The imperative of implementing digital marketing
Charities are being forced to rethink their marketing strategy as a direct effect of the Covid-19 outbreak. With the cancellation of large scale events and fundraisers, one is seeing more and more charities now shifting their efforts to digital marketing, and it's vital that charities implement digital marketing into their plans for 2020 and beyond.
Charity digital marketing campaigns play an essential role in fundraising, building the volunteer base and generating awareness. Despite the move to digital, it’s clear that charities are missing out on some important opportunities on how to leverage digital marketing to their advantage, that is why we are going to explore ways that your charity can start improving its digital marketing strategy.
Starting with digital marketing
The first thing that any charity has to take into account is the Charity Digital portal. This is a software discount and donation exchange owned by the Charity Digital Trust. Here you can find a lot of resources that will help you get started, as well as unique deals on discounted software and ways that you can help your charity’s mission using digital marketing.
Many charities often don’t have big budgets to spend when it comes to marketing and utilising different tools, but the plus side is that a lot of organisations are offering heavy discounts on their product licensing for charities. Before buying the standard licence for a software you’re interested in, always ask if there is a discount for charities. You will be surprised by the resources available for free.
A lot of charities are unaware that Google has an offering called the Ads Grant, set up for non-profit organisations offering $10,000 of free advertising every month on Google Ads. It can be used to create ads that drive awareness and donations to your charity directly from your website.
Furthermore, Google offers charities a non-profit licensing of its G-suite which includes Google Drive, Docs, Calendar, Sheets, etc that can be utilised by charities to run their daily operations.
An important aspect of a digital marketing strategy is always having a well optimised website that can be utilised to help you achieve your charity’s goals. Your website needs to have a straightforward message about your charity's mission, in order to capture new visitors and remind old visitors how their funds are being used.
The most important thing for your website design is to make the donation process as straightforward as possible so that users find it easy to donate funds.
Remember, it’s all about user experience and a charity website needs to be easily accessible and optimised for online valuable actions.
Social media is another powerful and must-have tool that will help get your charity’s message across and reach the right audience. It is part of our everyday lives which makes it essential for charities to have an online active presence on social media and reach their target audience by having a well planned social media strategy.
Your social media strategy should address and target the following:
- Drive donations.
- Recruit volunteers for your charity.
- Engage with your existing audience and gain new supporters.
- Develop your charity and share your mission.
There are a lot of social media networks out there so you should also consider what are the right ones for your charity, and avoid falling into the trap of being active in all of them. There are social media networks that allow you to get direct donations from your page - as an example, Facebook.
If you validate your charity on Facebook, other social media users can use your charity’s name to create fundraising events on their own. Once the campaign has ended the fund will go directly to your charity without any hassle.
Social media also offers advertising and you can utilise paid ads to reach new users and boost your donations. Always try a mixture of both because a combination of organic and paid strategies used together is very effective in reaching your goals.
Below are social media platforms you should consider to have an online presence on for your charity and how you can utilise them:
- Facebook for online fundraising, communicating with your supporters and creating awareness.
- Instagram for sharing your day to day activities, telling stories about things you are planning, as well as reaching a younger audience.
- LinkedIn for focusing on corporate sponsorship and recruiting talented team members.
- YouTube for building a community with your supporters by sharing video content and sharing success stories.
- Twitter for sharing your day to day activities, engaging with your followers and offering support by answering questions.
Amazon has implemented a new way of shopping, introducing a way of donating a small percentage of their eligible purchases to the users chosen charity. You must register your charity in the Amazon Smile program in order for your supporters to choose your charity, but it is an extra source of income.
The service is free for charities and you can use it to access a pool of potential supporters and raise your charities awareness.
An often overlooked aspect that every digital marketing strategy needs to have implemented is an email marketing campaign. Your charity should be collecting emails for a newsletter supporter database that you can utilise to inform them of new activities, upcoming fundraising events or general charity news.
It is important to have a well presented template designed for your email blast that will both drive awareness and have calls to action for your supporters to make new donations to your charity.
Always remember to include different emails in your email marketing strategy, starting from a welcome email to whoever signs up to your email database, to the monthly newsletter and emails that nurture your existing supporters to continue making online donations and thank them for their support so far.
Search engine optimisation
You, your digital marketing agency or your outside search engine optimisation (SEO) team need to be on top of the current trends and users’ search intent on search engines. A successful charity must be accessible to its supporters and found easily by utilising search engine optimisation.
SEO is one of the most powerful forms of digital marketing, as you can deliver your message in front of as many people as possible in the hope that users who are searching for specific charities, and how they can donate to different causes, end up on your website through search engines' results.
SEO must be a part of your marketing strategy as it’s inexpensive and profitable when done correctly. SEO can also be used as a brand awareness tool and help build relationships with potential supporters by positioning your charity at the top of a search engine which makes the charity visible to a huge audience for free.
SEO isn’t something that you should overlook as it can offer both short and long term results for your charity. It is a rapidly growing and changing environment but with the right planning, it can help your overall marketing strategy.
Content marketing in general is a powerful form of marketing that is focused on creating valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain new supporters, and keep your existing supporter base engaged with your charity.
A good place to start is by taking advantage of your website, and generating new content for your blog which can be reused on social media, making your digital presence stand out with useful content that gives value and solves problems.
If you don’t have a blog, now is the time to consider creating one. A blog can have all sorts of content, from your charity’s news and activities, to useful articles that help you promote your cause. Utilising content marketing effectively can prove to be a game-changer for your charity during this time.
Utilise free tools
Charities often work with a limited budget and must make every penny count. Utilising free tools that different organisations are offering is a must, as well as creating a well planned digital marketing strategy. Creating this will help you achieve your fundraising goals and create awareness for your charity.
Over the past few months, there has been a major shift to online fundraising for charities, and digital marketing is the way to move forwards as the world needs charities now more than ever.
Charity digital marketing activities can generate awareness, reach thousands of people, and generate funds that are needed for running your charity. That makes digital marketing an essential part of your marketing plan and it can be a wise and cost-effective investment for your charity’s future.