Charity support

Digital Marketing Challenges in the Charity Sector

Our tips

Marketing for charities can be difficult. Unlike commercial businesses, charities do not have a traditional product or service to sell. They are generating support for a cause. This produces marketing challenges. Instead of just trying to make the product attractive to people, marketing teams within charities are trying to engage and educate the public. Whilst simultaneously asking for financial support and members.

Many charities are limited on funding and can’t afford a large marketing team, so making the most of your budget and time is vital. Through our experience working with charities we have put together some tips on digital marketing as a charity.

Know your audience

For any company it’s important to know who you’re trying to target, but this is even more essential for charities. To engage your customers and potential customers, you need to know who you are communicating to and what they’re likely to engage with.

To really make the most of marketing efforts we have found these steps useful:

  1. Analyse past data. Try to work out which groups of people you have been successful in engaging before. What did you do to engage them? How does the successful messaging differ between groups?
  2. Identify different groups of people to target. These groups could be based on many things including age, location, whether or not someone has children or anything else that is relevant to your campaign or charity.
  3. Personalise your message for each group. Personalisation can be so much more than just a greeting line. One example could be to include location specific information about your charity for people within a certain postcode area. Another could be to include fun educational activities for kids.  This targeted messaging depends on your campaign objectives and can be very detailed and creative.


Be engaging

People have limited time and receive mountains of marketing material. It’s important to keep emails and messaging short, to the point and engaging. With email marketing, knowing what to include (and what not to!) is very important.

  • Open - Subject line - Your subject line should be eye catching and relevant. Steer clear of anything that could look like junk mail.
  • Read - Keep it short - According to a Boomerang case study, emails with 75 – 100 words had the highest response rate. Keeping your message clear and concise, alongside eye catching graphics, can help to ensure it is read.
  • Respond - Include a Call To Action - This could be a sign up to a campaign, ask to refer a friend or ask for a donation.


Build a relationship

    As a charity, it is important to create meaningful relationships with those that you are trying to garner support from. Some important things to remember:

    • Dont ask for too much too soon – For a lot of charities, requesting financial support through donations and memberships is one of the top reasons for reaching out to people. However, when building and maintaining a relationship with the public, asking for too much too soon can damage the relationship. Allowing people to get to know and like the charity first can be a more effective way to move people towards action.
    • Let people know how theyre helping – People like to know where their money is (or could be) going and how they are helping the cause. Including this in communications can be a powerful way of increasing donations.
    • Use more channels – Multi channel marketing can be a powerful way to communicate with people. According to Lead Forensics, 72% of consumers say they prefer to connect with brands through multiple channels before purchasing. Social media is a great way to reach people, with approximately 66% of the total UK population in 2020 using social media  ( This reach has been used by charities to raise funds and spread the word. Campaigns like ‘Run for Heroes’, raised over £7,000,000 for the NHS. Combining social media, email, post and other channels can keep conversation flowing and people engaged.


    Choose the right partner

    Charities are rarely able to execute all of their marketing plans in-house. They are likely to need to outsource processes that require a lot of time or expertise. Be sure to use suppliers who have experience of working with the charity sector and an understanding of its budgeting structure.

    We hope these tips have helped. If you are interested in our work with charities, check out this fun blog post and this case study. Please do get in touch if you would like to see how we could help to improve your communications.