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  • Writer's pictureEmily Ware

Digital Marketing in the Third Sector

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

It's not until you start working in the third sector that you realise just how different it is to either consumer or corporate marketing. When I first started working within the third sector with Girls Out Loud I was thrown into the deep end. My previous experience was solely within corporate and consumer arenas; raising money and recruiting volunteers was totally new and alien to me, but by combining my previous experience with a newly found talent and skill in marketing to raise money, I have found the ideal blend of asking for donations whilst also providing something for an audience of supporters.

Give Something Back

We often hear people say they are giving something back when they are donating to a charity or deciding to use their spare time for volunteering, so why not do it yourself too? Provide something to your audience which not only gets them to support your charity, but also teaches them something. For the majority of areas covered by the third sector there is a huge bank of data ready to be mined. Use this data to create statistics for social media, add it to your white papers and incorporate stats into documents for donors. Have you discovered anything by working within your chosen area? Working with teenagers allowed me to pick up on the slang used by 12-15 year olds which became a lesson in language for our volunteers who may have been spoken to in a language totally alien to them. You know what you're talking about, let others in on the secret.

Utilise Service Users and Volunteers

People are much more likely to buy a product or use a service when they are presented with good reviews and this is no different when asking for donations or recruiting volunteers. Donors and potential volunteers want to know that their precious money and time are going towards a project that works. Remember to ask your service users about their experience at the end of their journey and use their quotes across social media and your website to prove how brilliant your work is. The same goes for your volunteers, ask them about what they enjoyed, what they gained and why they chose to volunteer with your cause. Their quotes and testimonials will become a crucial selling point, treat them like gold.

Get Your Content However You Can

Stock photos can only get you so far and don't make your programme unique. At every event or during your usual tasks, get permission off your service users and volunteers to take their pictures, then get snap happy and interview as many people as possible. The more unique your content the better, as people will see how much work you are doing and how your results are achieved. Try to vary your content so you can show off every aspect of your services, from animal welfare to providing families with support, there will always be something you can capture on your phone. Once you have all your content for the day, choose the best of the bunch, edit them with your branding and post.

Influencer Marketing Still Stands

Influencer marketing can be costly when it is implemented for a consumer brand, but many influencers and celebrities are willing to get involved with charities and not for profits for absolutely nothing at all. To save time, find influencers who are directly linked with your cause. Running a horse sanctuary? Find influencers who ride horses. Working with children? Find influencers who have kids. Remember to find influencers who have your target audience following them; the people who are willing and able to support your cause through donating time, products or money. You may also be able to utilise influencers and celebrities as spokespeople who will name drop your organisation in the right circles and also in interviews and other media opportunities, reaching a huge audience who may not have heard about your organisation otherwise.

Be Ready For Anything

When I first started marketing in the third sector, what shocked me most was how fast things can move. As well as having content plans, getting as many pictures as possible and potentially collaborating with celebrities, it is important to grab every opportunity you can to make some noise. Comment on relevant hot topics and don't be afraid to have a bold opinion which backs up your cause. Keep yourself switched on to the world around you and you will have everything you need to successfully market your charitable organisation.

Do you need support marketing your third sector organisation? I am specialising my services to work with charities and not for profits to boost their online presence. Get in touch to discuss your needs, I'm just an email away.

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