How Marketing Can Help Charities

After a bit of a hiatus from this blog, I thought I’d best explain what I’ve been up to while I’ve been away. When I’ve not been busy working with some new clients (updates to come on the Who I’ve Helped page!), or taking a little holiday to my spiritual homes in the Lake District and Madrid, I’ve been beavering away on an exciting new event, specifically aimed at charities.

As a Board member with the Chartered Institute of Marketing here in Yorkshire, I’m tasked with engaging marketers here in the region. It struck me that neither the CIM nor the likes of Marketing Week do many events or articles aimed at marketers in the charity sector. Yet this is an industry that’s gone through huge trauma, from reputational crises among the big names, to new GDPR-shaped headaches, as well as the everyday challenge of fundraising in a downturn.

I’ve created a panel event called ‘How Marketing Can Help Charities’, which will take place on Wednesday 19thSeptember at York CVS in the centre of York. On the day, a team of folks far more expert than I will share their experience and knowledge in a live Q&A. In the meantime, I’m not going to shy away from sharing my own three thoughts on how marketing can help charities:

  1. Know your audience
    I was attracted to marketing because fundamentally, I’m nosy. Marketing is about understanding the people you’re trying to speak to, then communicating in way that effectively meets your objectives. Too often, organisations are trying to be all things to all people. If you can segment your audience into groups (‘potential volunteers’, ‘funders’, ‘clients’), then think about what makes them tick, you can create marketing communications that really speak to those people in a relevant way.
  2. Make the most of the freebies
    There are plenty of tools out there that charities can make the most of to promote their cause. Here are just a few that you should be aware of:

    • Google Analytics – a tool to monitor how your website is performing. See how many people are coming, but more importantly, where they’re coming from (other websites, social media, etc.) and what they’re doing on your site. A real essential to seeing what results marketing is delivering for you.
    • Google AdGrants – free search engine advertising for charities that meet their criteria. It’s not a quick job, you’ll need to spend some good time to set it up properly. But once you’re up and running, this tool can help people find your organisation right at the point they need it.
    • Social media – none of the platforms need to cost you money, and aside from being a great place to share your content, they can also let you build relationships with other organisations and tell you more about the people who follow you. It’s a time suck, granted, so have a plan in place for what you want to share, and when, and stick to it.
  3. Measure up
    One thing common to all the charities I work with is that they have the most ambitious, worthy goals, but scarce resources. Don’t waste those resources on marketing activities that aren’t pulling their weight. Now you’ve got Google Analytics (see point two) and you’re using social media, take half an hour each month to hop in and see what’s working and what isn’t. If your goal is to recruit more volunteers but no one is visiting those pages of your website, think about what you can do next month to change that.

If your charity could benefit from a little marketing support, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.

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Based in the beautiful market town of Thirsk, I offer marketing support to organisations right here in Yorkshire, across the North East and (thanks to the marvels of technology) the rest of the country. Drop me a line and we can have a chat about what you need.

Tel: 01845 591 171