Home / Business  / Cost-effective marketing guide for non-profit organisations

Cost-effective marketing guide for non-profit organisations

Typically, non-profit organisations have less to spend on advertising. If you’re desperate to launch a campaign — whether it’s to attract more regular donations or promote an upcoming fundraiser —there are several budget-friendly options available.

Want to know how you can market your charity on a budget? Browse this step-by-step guide for cost-effective advice.

Research: your audience

Get your team together and start planning — the first item on your list must be audience. Who do you want to reach with your campaign and are there any social and economic factors that might impact on people donating to your charity? Only by being fully aware of your audience’s environment can you overcome issues that could adversely affect your campaign and potentially even force you to start over at additional cost.

Now, you must use all sources at your disposal to research and define your target audience. Perhaps start by researching your current donors to find out their interests, likes and motivations. You can do this for free by using your website’s analytics and metrics, checking out social media accounts to see who else they follow and what posts they ‘like’, or via an email survey for more accurate and personal responses.

Determine: your marketing goals

Once you know your audience inside out, it’s time to define your campaign goal — try and make this as focused and exact as possible to help guide a strong and effective campaign. Do you have a fundraising target? Need to improve your organisation’s online authority? There are many potential goals, but you need to focus on one from the beginning and let it lead your decisions to avoid unnecessary spending.

From social media ads to roll-up banners, there are plenty of digital and print marketing platforms to choose from — but how will you combine various marketing platforms within your campaign? Plan you digital and print options now so you can start mapping out which content to produce to achieve your marketing goal. Remember; make your objectives precise, measurable and realistic — anything is achievable as long as everyone on the campaign is moving towards the same goal.

Define: your key message

There have been thousands of effective marketing campaigns since the industry began, but what sets the successful ones apart from the lacklustre ones? The answer, is the key message. Ask yourself: what is the main aspect of my campaign that I want people to know and how do I want people to react when they engage with my campaign? Strong key messages make your campaign stand out and stick in people’s minds, so it’s important that you get this across in a creative way.

Key messages are the major details that you want people to understand and remember, and these should be shown in all your communications with your audience. How about making a narrative pertaining to your charity? For example; US organisation, charity: water, dedicates a section of its website to real-life stories of people the charity has helped, and is renowned for its vivid images and poignant videos.

Simply ask yourself how your organisation helps others and think of ways this can be conveyed. Carry out interviews, take pictures and even do a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ detailing a colleague or recent beneficiary of your charity. After all, showing people what your charity can do is far more effective than just telling them.

Create: marketing content

Videos and photos are excellent for sharing on social media to get your campaign out there, but the effect of these are hampered if you don’t have strong, emotive content to back them up.

Punchy and powerful copy is essential for getting across your key message effectively. Here are two examples:

  • Help is a four-legged word’ from Canine Companions.
  • Likes don’t save lives’ from UNICEF Sweden.

Taglines like these jump off print flyers, pamphlets and posters. Plus, if you pair with a striking image, you massively increase your chances of marketing success. No matter if you’re creating content for Facebook or billboards, ensure that you maintain a friendly and hopeful persona throughout to engage with your audience and encourage them to get on board.

Need extra help at this point? Even if you’ve cuts costs, you might want cash injection to keep up the momentum of your campaign, if so, try:

  • Trusts: which give billions of pounds to charities — there are thousands to choose from.
  • Local government: read a list of local authorities for more information.
  • Public: reportedly, the public accounts for 35% of voluntary sector income.
  • Business: corporate donations are increasing.

Reach: your audience

As soon as you’re happy with your planning and content, it’s time to launch your campaign and start achieving your goals. Begin by contacting printing companies for advice on leaflets, posters and other forms of print marketing to see what would work best for your campaign. Did you know that almost 80% of charitable donations come from direct mail, according to a report by the Institute of Fundraising? This report also stated that print encourages loyalty, with more than 50% of the people surveyed saying that they find print the most credible marketing channel.

Since this is a budget-marketing guide, you’d be missing a trick if you didn’t take advantage of social media channels. Fast and free, you can use your charity’s online platforms — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — to boost your campaign and encourage people to share your posts, photos and Tweets. Past campaigns have also shown how good social media can be at spreading a message. In 2014, the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) launched a video marketing campaign to raise awareness and hallmark the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Despite only running for a fortnight, the campaign achieved more than 14,000 social media shares and was covered hundreds of times in the media.

Mixing a variety of print and digital platforms, and having a clearly defined marketing plan, this will help create a successful campaign that won’t cost the earth.






Writer and news enthusiast. Enjoy the simple things in life. A coffee on a Sunday morning listening to your favorite tracks. Take the time to love the world around you and enjoy life! Then work on something that you're passionate about.

Review overview