Charities have a harder job than most when it comes to their marketing. While most brands offer their customers something in return for their custom, charities have to appeal to their donors’ generosity to see donations — easier said than done.
Charities need to up their game to see results. As a consequence, their marketing campaigns are often creative, innovative, and truly inspiring. Here are four of the best (and what you can learn from them).
Back in 2014, the UK-based charity Save The Children partnered with creative agency Don’t Panic to arguably create the most hard-hitting marketing campaign on this list. Titled If London Were Syria (or Most Shocking Second a Day on YouTube), the first ad followed the life of a London schoolgirl whose life is turned upside-down when a civil war erupts in the UK. Created to bring the plight of Syrian child refugees to an otherwise distant audience, the ad was followed up two years later by another video following the same girl as she continues to survive in a war-torn UK.
What you can learn from it: charities often work with terrible events or situations that seem unimaginable to western audiences.
War, genocide, and even domestic issues such as homelessness are incomprehensible to most donors. But by making these things relatable to your audience, even by forcing them to painfully confront these issues as Save The Children did, you’ll create an effective and impactful marketing campaign. Read more »
Why do we need to disrupt this sector?Caroline Riseboro, plenary speaker and President and CEO of Plan Canada, summed it up nicely, “A hyper-focus on major gifts is disguising the problem that we have an erosion of donors in the Canadian market. Philanthropy as a whole is on a decline.” And it’s no wonder given the challenge to get people’s attention, nevermind donations. We see 10,000 marketing messages a day while having an eight second attention span, according to Vanessa Landry, Director of Client Services at Fundraising Direct. That’s why we need disruption. We need new ideas, new ways of doing things, to advance the sector and keep being socially impactful.
Then, how do we become disruptive? We do it by delighting donors and through leadership. Delighting donors involves giving them an experience they can’t stop talking about, according to Jen Love, Partner at Agents of Good. When donors can’t stop talking about a positive experience, that leads to engagement, repeat donations, referrals to others, and ultimately growth for charities.
This first part of a two-part blog will cover how to delight donors. Based on my takeaways from attending some of the sessions and engaging with the #AFPCongress2018 feed, there are three main opportunities to delight donors: personalized communications, experiential events, and frictionless webpage design. Read more »
Storytelling to drive “giving” or donations can feel a little repetitive. A common example is the classic profile piece featuring someone whom the nonprofit has impacted. This is the written, video, or audio piece that introduces an individual, describes a barrier, and then states how the organization helped that person to overcome the barrier. It’s straightforward, it’s easy, and it’s a tempting format to gravitate towards. What this generates is a one-story-fits-all approach where the central character may change, but the general storyline remains the same.
The challenge with this approach is twofold. Firstly, on the donor side of the equation, this format speaks only to a specific, results focused donor and often fails to resonate with or impact emotionally focused or outcomes driven donors. Secondly, swapping out the face behind a repetitive storyline fails to embrace what is unique about each story or to illustrate the full breadth of your programs’ impact.
When you’re selling a product, displaying your value proposition by way of a consistent story that showcases the scale of your impact (the number of people that your product helps or has helped) in the most efficient way possible is certainly a strategy that works; however, when it comes to your nonprofit story you’re not simply selling a product. Similar as systems like monthly giving may seem, you’re not even selling a subscription service. What you’re selling is an outcome and the emotion that goes along with it. So, for people to really connect with your organization, empathize with your population, and commit to giving, they need (and want) to understand the full scope of your positive impact – not solely on the direct beneficiaries of your organization’s mission, what we can call your primary population, but on all the people that surround and are connected to them. Read more »