As a charity or non-profit, your organization has a mission that goes beyond the bottom line. Even though marketing objectives are different from a profit-driven enterprise, raising awareness, donations, and increasing visibility are all necessary to accomplish your goals. Growing a loyal audience is imperative, and there’s no better way to do it than through the vast array of digital marketing channels at your disposal.
Your message should go beyond traditional advertising. It will involve emotion, storytelling, and an aim to cultivate a relationship rather than just a sale. This article explains how you can craft a message that reaches through to your audience and inspires action.
1. Build Community
Truly successful charities are not built through one-time donors. They accomplish great things only when there’s a community of dedicated individuals who are all committed to the cause. When marketing for a cause, you should constantly focus on opening doors to your community.
It’s hard to recognize when you’re a new charity with small membership numbers, but once your organization starts attracting new people, a snowball effect can occur. People feel good about working to improve the lives of others and will often share the details of their experiences with friends and family. This often inspires them to come on board, and the cycle continues.
Utilize your social media channels frequently to share news and updates and coordinate meetings and other events within your organization. For example, setting up a Facebook Group that can act as a virtual town square can do wonders for building connections and fostering communication.
2. Create a “Why”
Admittedly, the idea of “finding your why” has been overused in recent years by corporations, motivational speakers, advertisers, and just about anyone else who needs to conjure up inspiration without being truly inspiring. So why include it on the list? Simply because it works.
Just because a phrase has turned into a cliché doesn’t mean it’s invalid, and the “why” sentiment is proof. The earliest stages of the branding process are about relating to potential community members by finding the thing in their lives that they can associate with your organization. Ask this question: Why would someone want to join in supporting my cause? If it’s not obvious (as it is with a cancer organization, for example), help draw the line between your mission and any random person who comes across your brand. Once they recognize the value you provide, they’ll be much more open to coming on board.
3. Consider Compliance
Operating a charity or non-profit isn’t as easy as it should be. Unfortunately, there’s a long list of rules and regulations that must be adhered to, or you risk having your company shut down. These guidelines come from the government (both state and federal) and the platforms you use to advertise, among others.
For example, suppose you want to set up a Facebook campaign to encourage donations around the holidays. In that case, you’ll need to make sure you’ve selected the “Special Category” classification before you launch. We won’t go into the legal, financial, and tax technicalities in this article because, well, that’s just too much for a marketing professional to fully understand.
The main takeaway regarding this topic is that no matter what platform you’re using to communicate on a paid or unpaid basis, do your homework to avoid a major headache or a total shutdown of your pages and/or accounts.
4. Content Is Crucial
Yes, creating compelling content is important for marketing effectively in any industry, but it’s even more of a priority for a cause-driven enterprise. Storytelling must be the backbone of your strategy around which everything else is built. Engaging your audience, pulling on heartstrings, and inspiring action is necessary to accomplish your mission of providing valuable goods and services for others.
Even if you aren’t writing content that ends with a “donate now” call-to-action, you can create a community filled with advocates for your brand. Positive word-of-mouth advertising can help pique the interest of people looking for a purpose-driven organization to support. Reaching these people starts with your story.
Detailing your successes and earnestly asking for help when you’re falling short of your goals can help keep people on track. Still, an overarching narrative should explain why the organization exists in the first place. Keep your audience’s attention pointed in the right direction, and don’t forget to include encouraging messaging along the way. People want to know they’re having an impact and will look to your news and updates for confirmation.
5. Show Gratitude
Whether you receive $100 or $1,000,000 in donations, it’s always important to be outwardly grateful for the time and resources you’ve been given. It doesn’t take a psychologist to recognize that when people feel appreciated, they tend to be much more willing to help, no matter what’s being asked of them.
If there’s a single phrase that you should keep in mind, it’s “make people feel good.” From those you’re helping to those who are contributing, everyone should have a warm feeling when your brand enters their mind. Positioning yourself as an organization that makes everyone associated feel like their life has a little extra meaning and purpose is the way to create loyalty and dedication.
Everyone could use an extra “thank you” from time to time, and that mentality should extend beyond just your branding and marketing strategy. When you show gratitude for the small things, it’s truly amazing how much it can improve your outlook on anything.
There’s a special passion required for the branding process when the goal isn’t just increasing revenue, but improving lives. As a marketing and branding agency, we’re proud to join forces with your non-profit or charity to develop a digital strategy that works toward your mission.
If your organization could benefit from a partnership with graphic work, campaign execution, or strategic direction provided by digital experts, get in touch today for a consultation.