When people think of charitable organizations, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the Red Cross. This classic American relief organization was founded in 1764 and now operates in more than 50 countries, including the US.
The Red Cross is one of the most recognizable charities in the world. It raised millions of dollars for humanitarian causes throughout the 20th century, and its reputation for “doing good” was enough to attract investors, including Warren Buffett and George Soros. Today, the Red Cross gets most of its money from donations, with a little bit coming from affiliate marketing. That’s right—the Red Cross became an affiliate marketing success story.
But it’s not just the Red Cross. Every year, people donate millions of dollars to hundreds of different charitable organizations. Some of them are more famous than others, but they all have one thing in common: They were all founded back in the day when people had spare time and could stop by a liquor store to buy a six-pack to bring home to their families.
What would happen if one of these organizations changed their approach to fundraising and began collecting donations online?
This is exactly what happened when Action Against Hunger became one of the first major non-profit organizations to implement an online marketing strategy. Instead of relying on traditional methods of fundraising and relying on volunteers to raise money, Action Against Hunger turned to online marketing to make their cause more accessible to the public.
How did they do it? Let’s take a look.
Create A Compelling Value Proposition
Charity websites often use complex language and technical terminology that makes it difficult for a potential donor to know exactly what they’re supporting. An organization with a compelling value proposition ensures that potential donors know exactly what they’re getting into. In the case of Action Against Hunger, creating a compelling value proposition was as simple as defining the problem that their organization aimed to solve.
Hunger is a massive problem. More than 40% of the world’s population lives in countries where daily food shortages are a concern. One in eight people suffer from malnutrition, resulting in impaired physical and mental abilities. In the U.S., one in four people experience food insecurity, which is when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. This makes it even more difficult to fight the good fight against hunger. But that’s what Action Against Hunger does.
The organization defines malnutrition in broad terms as a “diet deficiency or starvation, which can lead to anemia, increased susceptibility to diseases, impaired growth and development, and even death.” Defining malnutrition in such clinical terms makes it easier to understand what the organization is trying to achieve. The more specific they are, the easier it is to understand exactly what the problem is and how much effort it is going to cost to fix it.
On their website, Action Against Hunger defines their mission as follows: “To end extreme global hunger and poverty, and to improve the quality of life of people affected by hunger. We accomplish this through education, health, and economic empowerment.”
This is a mission that is both appealing and easy to understand. It gives the reader a clear idea of what they are supporting, and it is something that they can relate to.
Action Against Hunger also defined their goals and how they aimed to achieve these goals. Their overarching goal is to “end extreme global hunger and poverty.” To do this, they set a specific target of providing food for 20 million people in Africa by 2020.
Raise Awareness Through Social Media
One of the most effective ways to engage with potential donors is through social media. Thanks to the spread of blogs and social networking sites, there is now a digital sphere that allows for constant engagement.
Many African countries, such as Nigeria and South Africa, have embraced social media, making it a medium that is both cheap and accessible, especially to those who can’t afford traditional media.
In 2016, more than 44% of all online searches in South Africa were focused on brand-related searches, and 49% of those searches were for non-profit organizations. This makes it clear that organizations like Action Against Hunger know how powerful social media can be in getting their message out to the public.
Create And Maintain Engagement Through Regular Updates
It is important for any charity to stay engaged with their audience, whether or not they raised any funds. One of the best ways to do this is through regular updates that provide value and interest the reader.
Action Against Hunger uses several platforms to keep their audience informed about projects and events. These platforms include blogs, social media, and emails. They maintain an up-to-date website that regularly updates visitors with news and information about anti-hunger efforts around the world. They also use social media to talk about their projects and events, providing frequent and consistent updates about what they’re doing and why it’s important.
Make Donations More Effective
Charitable donations are an important part of any organization’s financial sustainability. It’s no secret that many people want to help out, but are not exactly sure how to do it effectively. One major roadblock is the language that gets used when describing the problem. Most charities and nonprofits use complicated vocabulary and obscure metrics that leave the average person not exactly sure what they’re supporting.
An organization that makes it easy for people to donate has many advantages. One of the advantages of making a donation through a service like Stripe is that they take care of the mechanics for you. They receive the money from your credit card, and they give you a receipt. When you file your taxes, donations of $25,000 or more can be tax-deductible. This can save you both time and money in the long run.
Online Marketing Is A Long-Haul Strategy
Online marketing is not a sprint. It is a marathon. To prove it, take a look at the case of Action Against Hunger. Even after more than 10 years of putting their online marketing strategy into practice, they’re still not quite where they want to be. But they’ve come a long way, and it’s easy to see why they invested so much in this long-haul strategy.
When you’re driving for miles and miles, it’s easy to lose track of the time. The same goes for a marathon. It’s easy to get distracted by the scenery and forget why you’re even doing this. But you know what? While you’re driving, the sun is rising, and while you’re running, the temperatures are rising. This is the power of distance racing—you use obstacles, not people, to get where you’re going. The same goes with an online marketing strategy. You use digital nomads, not local volunteers, to get the job done.
The Bottom Line
A non-profit organization that relies on donations usually needs to have a simple yet effective strategy for online marketing. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a compelling value proposition that will draw in potential donors. Once you have their attention, you can then use social media and other digital platforms to keep them engaged and to develop deeper connections. This should not be a difficult task for any organization working towards a good cause, but it can be so much easier with the right tools.