Marketing For Charities

Marketing for charities is such a big sector, as every charities goal is to raise awareness.  The issue is finding the right marketing agency, as there are thousands around the UK.  We always advise choosing an agency that has experience in doing marketing for charities.
Just fill in the form to get free advice and quotes from agencies that work with charitable companies.

UK Charities

There are around 200,000 registered in the UK, many of these are based in London.  They are spread over all walks of life (children, animals, marine, air force, birds, livestock, water, food, homeless, religion).
There are so many charities in the UK that the government has a specialist department set up to manage advise and tax each one (The Charity Commission).
Charities are growing in numbers in the UK, partly to do with good works and good morals, partly to do with the tax benefits that come with being registered as a charitable organisation. Remploy is a great example one that works in the business sector (run by the Department of Work and Pensions).  Remploy was set up just after the war to provide employment opportunities for the soldiers returning from Europe.  It has diversified across a broad range of industry sectors and is still a government sponsored program.  Set up to help provide employment to people that have social and physical restrictions to getting work in the private sector.

Do You Need Marketing Support?

Marketing is all about creating awareness, about letting people know a specific message and encouraging them to buy into it.
Charities all have a unique message about your cause.  What it is you are standing for?  Why you stand for it and why you are seeking support from the UK public and business world?
Marketing does cost money.  It is not free and can be very expensive.  This is something that many charities do struggle with.  As donations from people and companies get spent on campaigns (paying for TV advertising, websites, radio campaigns, and marketing agencies themselves benefit from fees).
Many UK people feel that their donations do not go to the cause, that for every £1 donated, a high proportion goes to an agency.  Some to the paid staff, and a small % to the charitable cause. Reports are that as much as 70% of every £1 does not reach the cause for many charities especially larger ones such as Oxfam (that have high running costs and infrastructure).
However, you do need to market, for two reasons:

  • To Stand Out – With 200,000 charities in the UK, you need to compete for donations
  • To Raise Awareness – To let people know about your cause and encourage charitable giving

The problem is that all marketing needs to be paid for, planned, monitored and developed – which all costs money.

Who Are the Main Charities

All charities are different, depending on the size and resources available different ones use different marketing tools to reach the UK public.
Popular UK charities would be:

  • Children In Need – Who get good TV exposure around the BBC and Pudsy The Bear
  • Oxfam – Who have shops in almost every town in England and support global poverty
  • WWF – Supporting animal interests
  • RSPCA – Supporting animal interests
  • NSPCC – Supporting cruelty to children

These are the main charities that get the most media exposure based around their marketing, most of which is TV or visual advertising based.
Lesser known charities would be:

  • Naomi House – A small children’s hospice based in Hampshire
  • Tearfund – A Christian organisation supporting world wide poverty
  • Mercy Ships – A Christian response to crisis around the world in war zones

Many UK Christian churches are also registered and do provide support both in the local community and wider world.

Choosing An Agency

The obvious choice is choosing an agency that has experience in working with charitable organisations.  There are a number of agencies (or all kinds) that do work with NPO’s (Non Profit Making Organisations) and are able to offer focused support and help for you.
It is always advised to meet and chat through ideas in detail (rather than on the phone or via e-mail) as communication is so much better face to face giving the chance to objectives, targets and strategy to be discussed.
There are a wide variety of channels that you can use in order to create brand awareness for their various causes:


Advertising is quite controversial for you, as advertising is generally very expensive.  As the money for it comes from donors, this means that much of donations go to the commercial world rather than the charitable cause.  This being said, it is essential in order for you to gain media exposure for your cause.  There are numerous agencies offering advertising for charities (sometimes at a discount) having worked with NPO’s in the past.  Popular would be TV, radio and visual adverts, but it is quite a broad area of channels.  Advertising is central to marketing for charities.

Dynamic Websites

All charities need websites.  Large or small all need them in today’s world and there are website designers around that have experience in creating websites for charities.  A website serves as an information resource into your cause, your objectives, values and goals and also serves as a pivot to encourage donations.  Websites are an essential part of marketing for charities.

Media Exposure

Public relations is not used by all, but certainly by the larger charities (the ones in the public eye).  This is to manage their brand, their image, create awareness and encourage donations to the cause.  There are many PR companies around the UK that have specialist experience in doing PR for charities or have worked with them as part of a broader mix of clients.

Search Optimisation For Your Website

Being found on the internet is quite important for you, but not a major issue.  Your websites tend to get good ranks from search engines naturally due to them being .org (in fact, for private companies to get links from you is an SEO technique); however SEO is needed.  However as you have 200,000 competitors, SEO for charities is important.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is very popular, as most cannot afford expensive advertising such as traditional advertising or TV advertising.  PPC is popular among NPO’s as it can be highly targeted.  There are many PPC companies that can do PPC for charities and can offer support services to help with management and data collection.

Social Media

Social media marketing is quite new as far as the advertising world is concerned and many are still getting to grips with using it in the best possible way.  Many companies are offering support for NPO’s on the social media side of things (to gain Facebook likes, Twitter followers etc.) and broaden the sphere of influence that a charity has on social media platforms.  Social media is a fast growing part of marketing for charities.

Compare Prices

Most agencies will offer a slightly reduced price for the work that they offer to you, however it is still wise to shop around and get quotes.
The main thing you need is a return on investment.  Marketing for charities is a fickle area that often does not show clear results, so for you there is a lot riding on getting returns for donor’s money.

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