As with most industry sectors, it is now imperative for charities to be on the cutting edge of digital media strategy. If we are to compete with the ever increasing reach and noise of the corporate sector and grab the attention, time and support from our target audience, having regular and successful digital campaigns is an absolute must for all charities, big and small.
My charity, Victoria’s Promise, has embraced digital media from the outset. Just days ago we were awarded a £1000 grant from Starbucks after successfully competing in their Red Cup Cheer campaign, we have just been approved for a Google not-for-profits Adwords grant of $10,000 per month and we are currently running a viral social media campaign #VPHippyXmas, in which we have created an online tool for supporters to be able to turn themselves into a purple hippy santa by uploading a photo and using our builder, sharing their picture and showing their support.
With this campaign we aim to show a huge wave of support to young women across the country that are battling cancer this Christmas. We are collecting the emails of people during the hippy santa process to increase our community, as well as creating huge awareness around our charity and cause via social media sharing. The tool is on our website, so we have seen a large influx of visitor numbers to our site.
Before we start any digital campaign we first sit down and work out certain factors. How can we ensure that our call to action is simple and understandable? Most charities have a broad spectrum of supporters, with that comes an even broader spectrum of technical skills. It is crucial to ensure digital campaigns do not alienate those that may be slightly less familiar with technology. Rather than guilting people into a donation, we try and focus on our campaigns being uplifting and empowering, while giving people the ability to identify with the campaigns. From a digital efficacy perspective, you need to make sure your campaign is suitable cross platform, and have marketing messages and material that are specifically created for the variants in the main social media platforms.
I see too many campaigns where a tweet is posted to Facebook. The way you need to package information is very different on each platform, consider how the users on each service like to receive their media and cater to that; your campaign must be easy to share. Think through your hashtags carefully, research them prior to launch to check if that hashtag is in use, or it will get lost among the noise.
Don’t be afraid to invest in boosting your posts on Facebook, or creating carefully targeted Adwords campaigns, if done properly these can be a highly effective use of marketing capital.
Lastly, don’t give up. If a few campaigns fall flat on their face, keep trying until you find the correct formula for the community your are trying to reach.
By Alex Eastman, co-founder and trustee of Victoria's Promise.
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