Charities have been urged to “harness and amplify” the voices of their biggest advocates in order to get their message across. According to Chris Simpson, marketing director at professional education company Floream, this has “never been easier” thanks to technological advances. Indeed, he said sophisticated tools are “no longer too expensive for small organisations”. As a result, he believes there is no reason for charities not to leverage these platforms and “foster positive conversations.”

Mr Simpson believes social media in particular offers good returns on investment for cost-conscious marketers at third sector bodies. “We find good value and quality via well-targeted social media ads,” he commented. “Also spend time on the deliverability of your emails. Give your provider a hard time over their setup and think about having your own sender IP and subscribing to ReturnPath – we’ve seen dramatic improvements in open and click rates.”

Charities were advised that pushing a generic message out to a wide audience in the hope of people raising their hands is no longer enough in this day and age. Instead, Mr Simpson said they need to focus on finding “the right way to join the conversation at the right time.”

While he acknowledged that managing and integrating the growing number of digital channels is getting increasingly expensive, he stressed charities do not have to be active on every single one. “Understand where your best volumes, ROI and customers come from and prioritise resources accordingly – you don’t need to be everywhere,” Mr Simpson said.

He went on to note that many experts in inbound marketing are “side-stepping” expensive platforms and seeding content via search engines and social media instead. “A modest amount of paid marketing can kick off a campaign, but the internet is really about your advocates retelling your story,” he said.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is among the charities placing digital at the centre of its efforts to convey its message and offering a positive customer experience. The organisation is therefore investing in building its core digital team and focusing on upskilling people in other parts of the organisation.

Speaking to the Drum, Media Manager at the BHF Andrew Webster said: “We need to ensure the culture is right and that we have people with the right skills and approach to help navigate the ever changing digital landscape. It has to be something the whole organisation embraces not just a digital team.” Mr Webster added that this can only happen if the people at the top understand the changes that are happening, actively champion new approaches and show strong leadership.

How to get more from your marketing (Interview), Charity Digital News

Posted by Cheryl Jackson-Leafield