Opinion: "How can you create shareable content for charities with a low budget?"
Francesca Aries outlines how charities are discovering cost-effective ways to deliver campaigns, which deliver rewards for their limited investment.
Today, charities are facing more and more marketing challenges when it comes to gaining awareness and engagement and when incentivising their target audiences to donate or volunteer. Traditional means of achieving these and of raising essential funds – including face-to-face, telephone and direct marketing – have received negative press recently, with a large number of charities facing criticism for their outreach strategies.
Not only is there a huge amount of competition in the market, and a growing number of multichannel distractions across the board; but charities nowadays need to be shown to spend minimal budget on marketing. This can make it difficult to put successful campaigns in place that have the potential to deliver a positive return on investment.
With these obstacles in mind, if charities are going to succeed, they need to keep up with today’s communication tactics and be more innovative in their approach to generating engagement. By identifying new ways to interact with and to incentivise donors, they can make their content work for them and their audiences – but on the smallest budget possible.
Ronald McDonald House Charities UK provide valuable home-away-from-home accommodation within close proximity to specialist hospitals across the country, allowing families to stay near to their critically ill children.
The charity celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014 and, to celebrate, Rawnet helped it launch the ‘Moments’ campaign. We created a landing page for the charity to upload new content every month – a combination of photo stories, blogs and vlogs. This new content gave its newly launched website increased organic traction and plenty of content to use across other channels. Fresh content was posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and through Ronald McDonald House Charities e-newsletters in order to drive users back to the site.
Rawnet also built a ‘Moments Sharing’ platform which allowed users to upload images and stories about their favourite moment with the charity, whether it was a personal involvement, fundraising or volunteering endeavour.
Ronald McDonald House Charities has two diverse and lucrative key target demographics: Gen X mums and Millennials. While both groups are always connected when it comes to digital they tend to be so on differing channels and their online interactions are poles apart. Additionally, their appetites for types of content differ.
The Moments campaign allowed users to interact and share pages and posts across whichever social network they chose. It provided a combination of moment-based content that could be anything from an emotional photo story through to an inspirational fundraising blog. Having all of these areas covered meant that each audience group was catered for and considered. The fact that new content was published each month across all the charity’s channels meant that statistics, including visitors to the website, social page interactions and open rates on emails, were sustained and increased through sharing – all with zero spend.
As with any year long campaign, Christmas was fast approaching and since awareness and engagement with the charity were at an all-time high we ran a ‘Bauble’ campaign. This allowed the public to purchase a bauble online and write a message on it for the families staying in the houses which would be hung on their trees. There was a suggested donation amount of £3.
The Moments campaign achieved an impressive reach – 475,000 impressions – and was the charity’s most liked and shared campaign ever. Not only did it generate a huge amount of brand awareness, it also meant that the retargeting code placed on the website could be used to maximum effect for minimum spend over the six week Christmas campaign.
The only money spent throughout the year on media was one boosted Facebook post and retargeting – this tactic gave the charity a 1,000% return on investment.
A great campaign can be a powerful asset for any company, but it can also be very expensive. This approach shows that charities in particular should be moving towards successful campaigns that allow a great amount of awareness and engagement through free content sharing.
Francesca Aries is an account manager at UK-based digital agency Rawnet