Can Charities and Voluntary Groups "Up" their Marketing Game?

In an information overloaded environment, standing out, getting your message heard, growing your support is getting harder and harder. And made harder still by larger charities having access to professional digital marketing services squeezing the little guys out of the picture. For those smaller charities and groups marketing is often not covered by their funding, will likely be the responsibility of someone with a thousand other things to do and still be thought of as nice to have not a need to have. Or it might be given to a volunteers or junior staff with a thought that anything is better than nothing.

Our view is different. We think that marketing should be as important as delivering the service to users. If you are not communicating, you are not reaching new users, new funders or new supporters. If you are not communicating you are not showing your existing supporters what you are doing. So here are a few things for voluntary groups to think about when it comes to marketing.

1. Increase your digital communications capacity. If you can’t find a skilled volunteer to increase you digital marketing, you might want to put a small part of your budget to pay someone else to ensure your stories are heard and appreciated. Don’t keep the good work you are doing a secret! Let people see and feel the good news. Podcasts, video, photos all add to your digital footprint. Have you made it easy for your volunteers or staff to show what they are doing?

2. Consider a brand refresh. If you have been going a while with your current logo , a new colour palette , a tweak to the logo or even a brand new logo and strapline can all help refocus the organisation, highlight the work you are doing, stop people taking you for granted and re-energise your work. It doesn’t have to cost a lot and as part of a wider strategic and marketing programme can deliver a real boost.

3. Relaunching your website also provides an opportunity to involve your wider community. How are they using it? What do they want to see? Is there more focus on social media? Is it time for a dedicated App? Encourage your community to share their insights and be part of the creative process to create a better digital experience.

4. Partnering. Have you thought about partnering with a larger organisation? A corporate sponsor maybe prepared to accommodate your message as part of their digital strategy. Can you use your partnership to lever your message to a much wider audience? Is there scope to run co-ordinated campaigns?

5. Use your digital strategy to improve your fundraising. Sharpen your message, have clean branding, be clear who you are targeting with your core messages and what you want from them (time? money? Support?). Doing this mean you are likely to become much more effective. A good digital marketing strategy could also make use of the different ways of fundraising online.

6. Telling your story. And finally, a key key, key thing. ALL charities and voluntary groups should TELL THEIR STORY. There are many creative ways of telling your story using podcasts, photos and videos and yet, so few groups and charities do so. Why is this? Everyone likes good news stories! Also, you can use the power of storytelling to increase engagement and awareness. Using social media to tell stories and creating ways of the wider community digitally engaging with you is simple, effective and very underused

For more information on any of the ideas in this blog contact Third Quarter Tribe for an informal friendly conversation

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