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Getting into digital marketing in a charity

Posted on 13/02/2019 by Kate Maunder

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Although the charity sector has made huge progress in the last couple of years, it is still behind the private and public sectors in embracing the digital revolution and the possibilities it offers for fundraising, marketing and communications. 51% of charities feel they are currently lacking the digital skills they need.

This means that there are great opportunities in the third sector for marketers with good digital skills. In this article, we look at what types of role are on offer and how you can position yourself to get into and get on in digital marketing.

What type of responsibilities do digital marketers have?

Digital Marketers use digital communications to attract new donors and supporters and retain existing ones. This could include email marketing, PPC campaigns, SEO and managing landing pages and other content on the charity’s website.

Managing social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn etc, is also part of digital marketing, and may be a stand-alone role.

They are also responsible for using tools such as Google Analytics and fundraising databases to track the performance and success of their activities.

Skills required for digital marketing jobs

The most important requirement for digital marketing jobs is previous experience using digital channels and communications, whether for professional or personal projects. You’ll need a working knowledge of email, SEO techniques, social media, PPC advertising, Google Analytics and writing and managing online content.

As the field is constantly evolving, you’ll need to enjoy constantly learning new things and keeping yourself up to date with the latest trends.

What type of digital marketing roles are in charities?

Depending on the charity, digital marketers may sit either with the marketing or the fundraising teams.

Typical roles include:

  • Digital Marketing Officer / Executive
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Social Media Officer / Executive
  • Digital Engagement Manager
  • Digital Delivery Officer / Executive
  • Digital Fundraising Officer / Executive
  • Digital Fundraising Manager

Our top tips for getting into digital marketing

  1. Seek out opportunities to learn

Small charities are always looking for volunteers to help them with digital marketing – take advantage of this to get some relevant experience under your belt. Offer to take on more responsibility and extra projects, as having concrete examples of campaigns you have run on your CV can really boost your chances of finding a paid job.

Volunteering is also a great opportunity to prove your commitment to the third sector. Charities always prefer candidates who can demonstrate dedication to their cause and the not for profit sector as a whole.

  1. Stay up to date

Digital marketing is a field that’s still evolving extremely rapidly. Today’s Instagram could be tomorrow’s MySpace, so it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends. Search algorithms and social media platforms are constantly being tweaked, and you need to know how those developments will affect your marketing. The good news is that there are loads of free resources out there such as blogs, websites, events and online groups – have a good look for ones that are most relevant to your role.

Some useful online resources include CharityComms, Charity Digital News, Third Sector and Skills Platform.

  1. Develop your own brand

It’s important to prove to employers that you understand how your audience interacts with social media channels, particularly when you’re starting out in your career, so make sure you have a carefully managed presence on social media. Check out our article on Managing your personal brand online for some great tips.

You should also ideally be developing your own personal digital projects to test new platforms, try out new theories etc.

  1. Learn the jargon

There are a lot of acronyms and jargon used in digital marketing, and if you don’t know the correct terminology, you’re not going to convince people that you are a true digital professional. Do some research and make sure you know the difference between CPC, CMP and CPA. This is a really thorough glossary of digital marketing jargon.

  1. Develop a T-shaped skill set

The digital marketing industry is changing so rapidly that becoming a specialist in a very niche area could see you redundant in a few years’ time. Instead, focus on gaining a broad understanding and experience of all digital disciplines, with a specific focus on one or two areas to give you a particular USP.

Skills range

This can also be helpful when it comes to climbing the career ladder, as you’ll need to manage people with different skill sets and understand how to get the best from them.

  1. Invest in technical skills

Technical skills such as HTML, basic coding, graphic design and web design are not usually part of a marketer’s remit but can be extremely useful to know and can give you the edge when looking for a new job. They can also help you brief suppliers such as designers and web developers more effectively.

  1. Know your numbers

Charities differ from private sector companies in that the focus isn’t on profit, but they still need to see a return on their investment for marketing activities, and managers are increasingly under pressure to prove this. Being able to state confidently how many donations or supporters resulted from your campaigns will really help you stand out from the crowd and give your career a boost. If you’re just starting out in your career, make sure you know how to relate any work you’ve done previously to the charity sector.

  1. Get certified

You can give your career a kick start by investing in a specific digital marketing qualification from a professional body such as the CIM, IDM or DMI.

TPP can help

When you’re ready to make your move, TPP can help. Our MarComms & Digital team are dedicated specialists in recruiting for marketing, communications and digital jobs in non-profit and public sector organisations. We cover temporary, contract and permanent vacancies at all levels starting from Marketing Assistant to Marketing Director.

Get in touch on 020 7198 6030 or