Marketing usually isn’t very high up on the list of priorities a charity institution has. However at the same time, it plays a vital role in promoting and raising awareness about the institution, which in turn brings in donors and sponsors that help run it.
Big charity organizations like UNICEF and PETA rely majorly on marketing to gather support for their causes. So if you still don’t have a marketing strategy for your charity organization, you need to start building one immediately to maximise your chances of staying afloat and getting your important message across.
A charity school will naturally not have a sizable budget for marketing. However, this article lists a number of strategies that you can employ in very little time and on a limited budget, while still managing to achieve the same level of success as you would if you hired an expensive marketing firm.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, read on to know more.
1. Make marketing materials
When people are looking to donate, they usually prefer places that they know – soup kitchens in their neighborhood, the community old-age home, Christmas drive stations at the local mall etc. This is why you should be primarily targeting the community that your school is located within when carrying out your marketing plan.
The best way to do this is to print flyers and posters, and to hang them up in parks, office buildings, malls, and other similar places. Basically anywhere you think people are most likely to come across them. But before you do, make sure to double check with your local authorities regarding laws on flyer pasting and distribution.
Making physical promotional content doesn’t have to be expensive either. Create professional-looking posters and flyers with PosterMyWall’s online flyer maker and customizable school admission flyer templates. It’s all done within minutes with zero hassle.
In addition to this, word-of-mouth marketing and taking an ad out in the local newspaper are also viable options and should be considered depending on the time and budget available to you.
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2. Conduct information sessions
Make a schedule, set up some appointments, and conduct short and snappy presentations at various establishments. Go to offices, schools, universities, and any other places that may be open to hosting you for an hour.
Your session should be quick and to the point, and it should highlight the most significant aspects of your institution and what you do. You should end the session with an appeal to donate and show potential donors exactly what they will be funding. This will instil a sense of trust within people and subsequently, they’ll be more likely to help you out.
The Salvation Army is a charity organization that routinely holds information sessions both online and in-person to get people to donate to their cause.
All you would need for this activity is one well-made presentation, one or two representatives who would conduct the session, and perhaps a donation box for people to fill on the spot. This type of engagement on a smaller level is crucial to not only raise awareness about your school, but also to get people to trust it and build an emotional attachment to it.
3. Have an email list
The importance of direct marketing cannot be stressed enough, especially when you’re looking to collect individual donations. Try to get the email addresses of the people in your community and outside it through sign-up sheets at information sessions, or through social media.
Your emails should include any new milestones that your school has achieved, as well as stories of students who have gone on to do big things after graduation. The tone of the emails should be uplifting in order to inspire people to donate to the cause. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, end all emails with a call-to-action button that takes the reader directly to wherever they can donate.
WWF sends direct emails to its subscriber list, highlighting stories about a specific endangered animal, latest accomplishments, or ways in which people can donate. This gets them a ton of engagement because the emails add a personal touch that would otherwise not be available.
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4. Use social media
Social media has quickly become the ultimate place for all kinds of marketing. Billions of people use apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every single day. That’s a lot of potential donors and sponsors.
Create a page on each popular social media platform and use that to raise awareness about your institution. Twitter has a feature called “Ads for Good” that allows non-profit organizations to advertise themselves for free.
Similarly, Facebook has an option for you to get a special “Donate Now” button for your verified charity institution. If you get this for your school, it would make donating that much easier for your followers. Remember to update your cover with something interesting and snappy using these free Facebook cover templates.
Use third party sites like Hootsuite to monitor engagement on the posts you put up to keep a track of your progress. Know what platform gets you the most engagement, then invest most of your energy into that. Make digital posters, infographics and donation appeals through your page.
5. Focus on emotional appeal
The best way to get donors and sponsors for your school is to appeal to people’s emotions. Film classroom activities, events, award ceremonies etc. and post them online. Show donors exactly what it is that they’re donating to.
Post a weekly video, each one dedicated to one specific child who shares his or her dreams and aspirations. You could also post updates for each child, for instance, when they graduate or when they’re top of their class. Add a donation appeal at the end so people can help immediately.
Lots of organizations around the world use emotional appeals to get their message across. For instance, Save the Children is an organization in Congo that made a series of posters and infographics showing children in war to make a point about how children belong in schools and not on battlegrounds.
You don’t need to be a filmmaker to make an impactful video. Sites like Moovly allow you to make great videos even if you have no video-making experience.
6. Partner up with a big firm
Big companies and organizations are always looking for ways to build on their community service activities. Approach major corporations through email or by visiting their office, set up a meeting, and talk to them about your organization, the importance of your work, and how helping you would also build the company’s own brand and image.
A small fundraising event would also do wonders for your chances of a corporate sponsorship. The idea is to show the company that you are an integral part of the community, and that partnering with you would help them become solidified as a trustworthy brand as well.
For instance, Coca Cola has partnered with multiple non-profits including USAID, American Red Cross, and WWF. They provide them with funds, and in return, they get to boost their image as a brand.
7. Have a website
A website is the perfect place for you to talk in detail about the work that you do. Here you can post about upcoming events, volunteering opportunities, breaking news, success stories, and you can have a dedicated donation landing page that you can link back to in your social media posts and information sessions.
Today, creating a website is simple. Sites like Weebly make it incredibly easy for you to make multiple landing pages and make them look user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
These are just some of the strategies you should employ to market your charity school. If you can create enough awareness and interest in your organization to get money and sponsorships flowing through the door, well, that should be enough to make your marketing a success.