Marketing for good: Charity webinar wrap-up

Last week we hosted Marketing for Good – a webinar designed specifically for digital marketers in the charity sector. Bringing together panelists from Marie Curie, the Royal British Legion and RNIB, the webinar explored how digital marketers can respond to the current coronavirus pandemic, as well as the longer-term measures they can take to drive real value for their organisations, communities and supporters alike. Here we take a look at some of the key themes from the webinar.

The line-up

Jamie Hoey, Client Partner at Croud, kicked off the session with a look at how the charity sector is evolving when it comes to digital marketing. With 19% of people in the UK having given to charity via a website or app in 2019, digital is undoubtedly playing a growing role in consumers’ charitable giving – but how can charities capitalise on this shift?

Jamie was joined by Katie White, Senior Biddable Account Manager at Croud; Caroline Easter, Brand Manager at Marie Curie; Alex Fallowfield, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at The Royal British Legion; and Sarah Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager at RNIB – each offering a unique perspective on the opportunities for digital marketers in the charity sector in 2020 and beyond.

Doing more with less

One of the perennial battles for marketers in the charity sector is to make their marketing investment go as far as possible, whilst budgets are increasingly stretched – and this is where digital marketing, with its measurability and accountability, can shine.

For Sarah at RNIB, planning, data and insights are all key when trying to do more with less. By carefully planning out marketing activity, and constantly assessing each channel’s return, the charity can prioritise the activity that is delivering the best return, and also consider which channels to manage in-house. For example, content marketing and creative are largely managed internally at RNIB, as the outputs can be used across channels, and the functions can be managed at relatively low cost in-house.

For Caroline at Marie Curie, testing and learning are absolutely essential. Whether that’s split-testing imagery or simply ad copy, Caroline advocates allocating a specific budget to testing, as well as making the most of industry events and knowledge-sharing through the likes of CharityComms.

In line with this, Croud’s Katie White advises charities to use Google Ad Grants to test keywords and audiences, and then apply their learnings to other, paid accounts. Due to the restrictions on Google Ad Grants accounts, this might mean using your grant account for awareness campaigns, and using a separate, paid account for e-commerce, lotteries, and so on. In doing so, charities should also leverage the power of automation – for insurance, RNIB has seen impressive performance uplifts from using Smart Shopping campaigns.

Removing silos

Another key challenge for charity marketers that emerged from the webinar was around removing silos and getting key stakeholders on board when it comes to digital marketing. Whilst all of our panelists recognised this challenge, they had some useful tips to share to help to overcome this, including:

Be transparent

RNIB’s Sarah advocates always sharing what you’re up to as a team, and getting other people involved as much as possible. Use all of the internal comms channels at your disposal, including shared planning boards so others know what’s happening.

Lean on attribution

According to Katie, attribution is your best friend when getting people on board. Whilst it may be easier for channels such as paid search, getting attribution reports right for engagement channels like programmatic display and paid social is vital – so spend time exploring the attribution reporting options available within Google Analytics for example.

Focus on building trust

For Alex from the Royal British Legion, developing great relationships with internal teams, in order to foster trust, is pivotal. She suggests delivering training to internal teams on a regular basis (even when they don’t necessarily want it!), and always explaining why your campaign or activity is the best course of action – using data to back you up.

Show and tell

Marie Curie’s Caroline spoke about the importance of showing team members results as they come in, in real-time, including through dashboards set up specifically for senior management. And whilst she recognised that attribution can be tricky, particularly for ATL campaigns, Caroline suggests one sure way to measure channel effectiveness is adding or removing channels in-campaign, for example start with radio then add digital display, then add social.

COVID-19 and charity marketing

The current coronavirus pandemic unsurprisingly came up repeatedly during the webinar, as charity marketers, like everyone else, attempt to navigate what it means for them and their organisations. For our panelists, ensuring all communications are not only sensitive and appropriate, but also helpful and useful, is absolutely essential.

The pandemic has also driven charities to look at ways to take their marketing campaigns online. For Caroline, for example, Marie Curie’s annual Great Daffodil Appeal usually relies heavily on community fundraisers, street collections, and face-to-face fundraising. Now, however, Marie Curie is having to shift this activity online very quickly, and focus on developing its digital product. In doing so, Marie Curie’s regional fundraisers are pivotal, as they lean on existing social networks and look to make even better use of avenues such as Facebook groups to engage with people.

Similarly, the Royal British Legion’s VE Day celebrations, which were planned to include a parade through London involving hundreds of veterans, are evolving to take into account the current circumstances, with Alex and her team exploring digital alternatives such as podcasts. RNIB is similarly looking at ways to expand on its existing digital channels – from open-access groups on Workplace for volunteers and community members to interact with staff, to radio stations and podcasts. Sarah and her team are also using the time to fast-track the digitalisation of some of their events and services, including making Braille books more accessible.

Inspiring campaigns

We rounded off the webinar with each panelist sharing one of their favourite charity campaigns – check them out for some inspiration for your own campaigns.

If you have any questions for any of our panelists, or if you’d like to find out more about Google Ad Grants or any of the other initiatives mentioned, don’t hesitate to get in touch. And we hope to see you at a future webinar or event!

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