Put simply, marketing for charities is a juggle. Acquiring new donors, engaging with your community, building brand awareness, attracting volunteers and retaining current donors all compete for marketing spend.
The silver liningOne of the main struggles for companies is producing content that resonates with their target audience. The silver lining for charities is that they are often lucky enough to have an engaged community that are pulling together for a common cause. Traditionally, charities would establish themselves within a local community through regular meet-ups to support one another through sharing experiences. Providing a digital platform allows members to confide in a larger number of people; a massive comfort for those in search of a companion to confide in.
Digital platforms come in a number of guises: A common and still current example is notably the ‘forum’. One of our most recent projects has been the development of a new forum for Marie Curie. Forums come with quite a tried and tested layout and drastically veering from this would be foolish. That being said, the word ‘forum’ for me conjures up memories of drab, clinical websites that are altogether uninviting. The excitement of this project was bringing the ‘forum’ in to the 21st century – actually, the use of the word ‘forum’ was avoided like the plague and in its place, the far more inviting word ‘community’. Vibrant colours and plenty of white-space has successfully been brought together to produce a clean, intuitive platform that redefines the word ‘forum’ (sorry, I meant community).
Tapping in to the minefield that is ‘social media’ is on the minds of many a marketer and for charities that is no different. The ‘Always Here picture wall’, another project we worked on for Marie Curie, is a fantastic example of this. The picture wall provides a platform for the community to share their experiences by adding a picture, message or video to a shared pin-board. Sharing experiences and engaging with others is at the heart of this project and has been fully achieved through seamless interaction with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
What was hot in 2014 One of my favourite uses of new technology this year has been the tapping in (mind the pun) on the trend of contactless payment by charities; specifically contactless payment for travel. We have two separate schemes in London at the moment: Penny for London and the Common Pence Panel. Penny for London allows commuters to make microdonations of between 1p and 10p every time they tap in and out. The funds raised go toward helping disadvantages young Londoners. The Common Pence panel works slightly differently in that it takes advantage of the £64 million (http://bit.ly/1uRtCvg) left on unused oyster cards. Those leaving London swipe their oyster against a contactless panel to use up any spare balance that would otherwise go to waste. I can only see the arena of contactless payment for donations increasing in 2015.
The examples I’ve listed here exemplify the fact that charities are not only embracing digital but are actually forerunners in may ways. Happy Friday and cheers to embracing new trends and creating new ones.