Marketing And Communications In Small Charities
Fundraising and raising awareness go hand in hand. If people don’t know about you then how can they support you…? It’s as simple as that!
Behind every successful charity is a good understanding of your supporters and how to communicate with them effectively. It is important that you market and communicate your cause, strengths and skills appropriately, as well as appreciate and know your audience.
Large charities and arts organisations tend to have a marketing, communications and PR team (or teams). Therefore, multi-skilled people – and a number of people - can run marketing and PR campaigns, engage with sponsors, produce e-bulletins, develop websites, deal with press, organise events, keep social media up-to-date, and so on. All of which can be overwhelming for small charities, who are unlikely to have those extra skills and resources.
In smaller organisations, marketing and communications is often done on an ad-hoc basis and/or by the fundraiser themselves.
Go Back to Basics
It might seem like a lot of work, but going back to basics is sometimes the best way to really understand what is right for your charity, meaning that you will be less likely to reinvent the wheel each time. Look at things such as:
- What is your cause and your specific needs?
- How are you raising awareness about it?
- Who are you beneficiaries and who are your supporters?
It is important to understand what is involved in the basics of marketing, and how that fits within your organisation.
Having a communications plan is also crucial, no matter how large or small your team is. Marketing and communications cannot be ad-hoc: having a time-frame is key to reaching your audience effectively.
Know your audience. This is vital for your marketing and communications success. How can you communicate effectively if you don’t know who your audience is, and what they respond best to?
Prioritise what you need to communicate, and work out the best way to reach your audience.
Review your Strengths and Resources
Don’t underestimate your existing strengths, skills and resources just because you are a small charity. Look at what has worked for you in the past, such as what your supporters/audience have responded well to. Review what resources you have – a great website for example, or loyal volunteers - and see how you can further enhance and build on those strengths.
Focus and Prioritise
Once you have understood the tools and methods that work best for you, then ensure you prioritise and focus. Don’t spread yourself too thinly. The key is understanding your organisation well enough to know what you need to communicate, and at what point in time.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Once you have a plan no matter how big or small you are as a charity, things get easier. You’ll spend less time having to reinvent the wheel and will produce more effective outcomes.
Layla Moosavi is an Action Planning Associate with more than twenty years fundraising and sponsorship experience in the charitable sector and the arts, including as a consultant, fundraising trainer and mentor. She specialises in topics including corporate fundraising and sponsorship, strategic planning and business development, fundraising event management, marketing and communications, community fundraising, and fundraising cases for support. Layla also delivers fundraising webinars and bespoke face-to-face training.
Layla can be contacted through Action Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org