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How to diversify your charity’s digital marketing activity

29 June 2021

The marketing landscape has changed dramatically in the past 18 months. Donor behaviour has changed a lot because individual circumstances changed too. People lost their jobs, were put on furlough and many who kept working reviewed their spending in a period of uncertainty. Even with a glimmer of normality on the horizon, the reality is – life now might be the new normal.

Many charities find what works for them and their donors and stick with it, but putting all your marketing eggs in one basket just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Donors like options, so it’s important charities market themselves via numerous channels to engage different kinds of donors. Using a mix helps charities stay at the forefront of donors’ minds and allows fundraisers to build an omnichannel experience that helps them reach their goals faster.

Here are some tips for how you can diversify your marketing:

Reassess your digital marketing activity

The first action is to reassess current marketing activity and write down new possible services to explore. If an activity is currently working, that’s great, keep doing it, but once one marketing plate is spinning nicely, it’s time to add another one and diversify.

Say, for example, a charity is using social media consistently and is seeing an increase in fundraising revenue from existing supporters. It’s covering one goal – to increase fundraising revenue. If they want to acquire new donors, social media marketing won’t have the most effective result because the people following your social channels are likely to be donors already. Activities like pay-per-click advertising and paid social advertising can position your charity in front of like-minded people who want to support causes like yours.

Oxfam is a great example of paid social advertising done well. The ad below would show people who have shown an interest in Oxfam or have similar characteristics to their existing donors. The ad informs that there is a famine and offers a solution of just £3 a month. It’s direct, informative and tells the viewer of the ad exactly how they can help. 

Charities can reassess their current activity by reviewing the data they currently have.

What are donors engaging with?

Have circumstances changed, and are donors behaving differently?

Adapt to them and what the data is telling you to shape marketing efforts.

Innovation is also essential, Refuge saw an increase in demand during 2020, so it was more important than ever to keep raising more funds to help those most in need of their help. Because of this increased demand, the fundraising team decided to raise funds in a more innovative and current way to enable them to have enough funds to meet service users’ needs. They launched a downloadable zoom background with a QR code so that supporters could use it for fundraising during video calls. They were quick to react to a new platform and appeal to new audiences, raise funds, and bring brand awareness to a range of potential new donors.

Choose new marketing services

When choosing a new marketing activity to try, it’s best to have a goal in mind before starting. Whether a charity aims to increase fundraising revenue, acquire new donors, or retain existing supporters. Matching a goal with a service will create a strategic plan, including spreading the potential opportunities and risks across different channels.

Match a goal with a service:

  • Acquire new donors: Try SEO, pay-per-click advertising, or paid social advertising.
  • Retain existing donors: Try email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, paid social advertising, or organic social media.
  • Increase fundraising revenue: Try email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, paid social advertising, SEO, or organic social media.
  • Raise brand awareness: Try SEO, pay-per-click marketing, or paid social advertising.
  • Incorporate digital & automation: Try email marketing or organic social media.
  • Educate & inspire your donors: Try content creation, email marketing, or organic social media.

A survey from Tech Trust in 2017 showed that all the charities that raised over 20% of their funds online were active on social media. From 2018 people were able to share birthday fundraisers on their personal social media profiles. Platforms like Facebook could play an even more significant part in charities’ fundraising efforts. Existing supporters can advocate their support to their friends in the run-up to their birthday, which leads to brand awareness, an increase in funds, and potentially acquiring new supporters. This domino effect is an excellent example of why charities should be using social media regularly.

Why diversify your marketing?

Diversified marketing activity allows charities to build a more omnichannel experience for their donors. It encourages a comprehensive collection of data and spreads out the risk of an activity, especially if working with a budget. If one marketing service doesn’t work for donors, there’s always more to try. Data is your best friend when it comes to analysing what is working for supporters; review periodically to push forward future marketing activity and reach goals.

Diversifying investment in both online and offline is no longer a means of survival born out of the pandemic but a crucial strategy for charities that will allow them to thrive going forward. Supporters’ preferences have changed, and with that, charities must adapt to those changes. Offering a diverse selection of communication and marketing activities will present them with the opportunities to engage via a channel that speaks to them.

For more tips on adapting your marketing strategy check out Adapting your marketing strategy when challenging times hit.

To help boost your social media marketing join us for Beyond the algorithm: social media for charities.

Image: Taylor Heery on Unsplash

Rachel Capper

Creative Content & Engagement Manager, Dreamscape Solutions

Rachel Capper is the creative content & engagement manager at Dreamscape Solutions, a digital agency working with charities to help them achieve sustainable fundraising through digital innovation. Rachel has over 10 years’ experience as a copywriter, with extensive knowledge in writing for a variety of sectors.