Growing charity income with cross-channel digital campaigns

Mar 24, 2015

Charities have seen their incomes reduced over the last few years. Increasing pressure on fundraisers to grow donations and make up the short fall.

It’s difficult to overstate the role mobile devices now play in our daily lives. Research shows that we check our smartphones up to 220 times a day. While eBay says that consumers use an average of four platforms before making a purchasing decision.

This multi-device behaviour offers charities an opportunity to connect with audiences like never before. With cost-effective, personalised campaigns designed to increase awareness, engagement and revenue.

But how can you maximise the effectiveness of your campaigns?

We have devised a five-stage approach called DICER. It stands for data, idea, channel, execution and results.

1. Data
Begin with a reliable list of people who know you, trust you and have given you permission to send them emails.

Email is the glue that binds your campaign together. Easy, inexpensive and trackable. It is the most powerful digital marketing channel available.

The minimum information you need for each recipient is their first name, last name, email address and post (zip) code. Enabling you to send personalised messages based on their location.

If you don’t have a reliable email list then data acquisition must become a priority.

Think about how people come into contact with your charity. These ‘touch points’ may be an opportunity to grow your list. Think about how you can best encourage people to sign-up to receive emails. Perhaps you could offer free content behind a sign-up form or incentives like competitions or prize draws?

Use your website, social media channels, shops, email footers and relevant printed materials to encourage people to sign-up.

Purchasing lists or cribbing emails from the web or other sources is not recommended. Those people will not know you and you will find that sending unsolicited email (spam) will not be effective.

2. Idea
Your idea is the hook that your campaign hangs on. A clear and compelling narrative that makes a personal, emotional connection with your audience.

What is the story you want to tell? It may be funny, sad, shocking or even quirky as long as it’s distinctive and memorable. Keep it simple, present it well and brand it clearly.

By nature campaigns are time constrained. So ask people to help you achieve your goals in a specified time frame.

For example:
Pay for x amounts of y
Beat last year’s target of £x
Raise £x amount before the deadline

3. Channels
Digital media channels fall into three categories. Owned media, paid media and earned media. A campaign should include elements of each. What are the the most appropriate channels for telling your story? How will you amplify your message and encourage people to share?

Owned – Website, Blog, App
Earned – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc
Paid – Online advertising, SMS, Email

Remember to always include a clear call to action. Every expression should move the audience along a journey towards a clearly defined destination. Such as a landing page where they can make a donation or sign-up for an event, for example.

4. Execution
You’re now ready to begin your campaign. Your audience consists of three types of people – Customers, Friendlies and Strangers.

Customers are people who know you and like you. They may have made a donation before, bought something from a shop or taken part in a fundraising event. You have their data and they have given you permission to contact them.

Send a short, well-written, personalised email to your list. Remember up to half of your recipients may view this on a mobile device so make the text large and easy to read on a small screen. Split test headlines to see which have the best open rate.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Your email software will highlight who opened the email and who clicked the links within it.

People are busy and may miss your emails. Send your message up to three times to recipients who did not open it the first time. Try different days of the week and at different times of day throughout the campaign to see if this has a positive effect on opens and clicks.

Set up and send a series of auto responders (auto generated emails) to those who opened your message. Use differing messages to try and move them towards taking the action you need.

Friendlies are the people who know you, but you don’t know them. They may follow you on social media or visit a shop, for example. Your goal should be to encourage friendlies to sign-up, become customers and take action.

Strangers are people you don’t know and who don’t know you. The largest group but also the hardest to reach. Your aim is to turn as many as possible into friendlies on social media for example (likes, follows etc.) and then into customers.

5. Results
You’ll know your campaign was successful if you achieve your conversions and revenue targets. But remember to also consider softer metrics such as web traffic, sign-ups, click-throughs and social sharing.

With the right story and media mix, multi-channel digital campaigns can be a powerful charity fundraising tool. They are relatively low-cost when compared to traditional direct mail and, because they’re more measurable, they’ll help you understand what resonates with your audiences and what positively affects their behaviour.

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T: 0191 224 8910


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