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With the cost-of-living crisis increasing the demand for essential services from those in need, charities and non-profit organisations recognise the pivotal role that marcomms can play in driving donations and generating awareness about their missions. The landscape of the charity sector is set to evolve dramatically in the coming years, not least due to factors such as the digital transformation of society, inflationary pressures, and regulatory changes.
However, with effective marcomms strategies in place, charities can emerge from this uncertain period with a loyal base of volunteers, supporters, and donors. By recruiting high-calibre candidates into your Marcomms & Digital team, your charity will be well-positioned to reap the many rewards that the world of marcomms offers.
In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits that marketing and communications staff can provide for your charity and delve into the key strategies you can implement for building out your marcomms team.
As our reliance on digital technology increases, many sectors are realising the countless advantages of digital marketing and communications. This is especially the case in the charity sector, with a rising number of charities recognising that investing in digital marcomms has the potential to broaden brand awareness, attract more donors and volunteers, and provide more transparency for their supporters. Key findings from a Global Trends in Giving Survey reveal that the majority of donors feel more inspired to give when email marketing or social media is the communication channel.
This valuable insight reveals the tangible benefits of conducting digital marcomms campaigns, and with Gen X and Gen Z preferring to donate via tech channels like social media and mobile applications, it is unsurprising why charities and non-profits are choosing to future-proof their fundraising plans by investing more funds into digital advertising budgets. Here are the key advantages that charities with effective marcomms teams can expect:
A well-equipped marcomms team can develop and implement effective strategies to reach a wider cross-section of people and increase awareness about their charity’s mission. They’ll employ strategies designed to make your charity all the more recognisable and memorable, such as defining target audiences, sharing emotive and compelling content via social media, and utilising email marketing campaigns.
Effective marcomms teams excel in engaging with supporters, donors, or stakeholders through various channels, fostering a sense of community and loyalty. A key part of their engagement strategy may be to divide your donor list into segments based on factors like donation history and interests in order to personalise communication with them. By expressing gratitude and keeping them in the loop via emails and personalised videos, they’ll ensure that your donors feel valued and understood.
Marcomms professionals stay up-to-date with industry trends and emerging technologies. Their innovative thinking can lead to new marketing strategies and approaches that keep their charities relevant and visible. For instance, they may wish to use AI tools to anticipate trends in the charity sector, generate personalised content, and create virtual assistants to respond to donor inquiries.
Fostering public trust is vital for charities and non-profit organisations, and marcomms teams can play an integral role in achieving that. They’ll make sure that all aspects of their charity’s financial situation, impact, and activities are communicated openly and transparently with donors, volunteers, and the public, thereby gaining and maintaining trust. Encouraging feedback, providing timely updates on achievements, and overseeing a consistent brand message across all channels are useful marcomms strategies that they can leverage to bolster their organisation's reputation.
From Oxfam to the American Cancer Society, many of the world’s biggest charities have greatly benefitted from investing in marcomms teams. An especially notable example of a successful marcomms campaign is the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral social media campaign that involved people pouring ice-cold water over themselves to raise awareness and funds for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The campaign managed to increase ALS research by a staggering 187%, an impressive feat that demonstrates just how successful marcomms campaigns can be.
If you are interested in learning about strategies for attracting top-tier digital marketing professionals to your organisation, we encourage you to read our ‘How the Charity Sector Can Recruit Top Digital Marketing Talent’ guide.
From recruiting the right people into crucial marketing and communications jobs to creating a collaborative and innovative culture, there are various factors to consider when building out your marcomms team. An important element to think about is competition for high-calibre candidates from other charities, with research showing that budgets for marketing have been gradually increasing among charities and nonprofits in recent years.
For example, the Nonprofit Communications Trends Report found that 65% of nonprofits with over 20 staff have a minimum of two full-time team members in marketing roles in 2022, up from a mere 19% in 2017. These statistics highlight how charities are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of digital marcomms, and given that online giving has emerged as one of the most common methods of donation, it is clear to see why the number of marketing and communications jobs is growing in the charity sector.
Driving donations, boosting engagement, and improving trust in your organisation are all achievable with a talented marcomms team in place. Here are 5 top tips you should follow when building our your marketing and communications team:
Whether you are an international organisation with a global network of volunteers and donors or an up-and-coming charity looking to attract and retain donors, establishing your unique needs should be the first thing you should take into account when building out your marcomms team. Determining a long-term plan that outlines your fundraising goals, target audience, and funding picture is crucial, as it will allow you to get a better sense of the sort of communications and marketing jobs you need to recruit for.
If you are looking for a senior-level professional to oversee advertising, campaign effectiveness, and the marketing budget, you may consider hiring a Marketing Manager. Alternatively, if you wish to focus on producing engaging and informative blogs and social media posts that spread awareness about your charity’s cause, you could recruit a Content Writer. Whatever your specific hiring needs, enlisting the support of a charity recruitment agency like TPP is a reliable method of ensuring that you attract and retain the perfect candidates for your organisation.
Once you have decided on the marketing and communications jobs that you need to fill, you should take time to think about what sort of skills and experience would benefit your charity. Rather than hiring professionals purely on experience and qualifications, it is crucial that charities pay close attention to skills and qualities that are specific to the charity sector.
Hiring managers should ask themselves key questions before making appointments, such as ‘does this applicant have a demonstrable passion for the charity's cause?’ Or ‘does this candidate have the ability to connect with the communities we’re trying to reach?’ While every role has its own distinctive set of responsibilities and requirements, here is a selection of key qualities you should look out for when hiring marketing and communications staff for your charity:
Talent retention is essential when it comes to building out marcomms teams, especially given the rising demand for marketing and communications talent in the charity sector. Facilitating training and development opportunities for your marcomms team will not only inspire them to come up with innovative marketing ideas, it’ll also show them that you are committed to investing in their progression.
Our Non-Profit Salary, Rewards & Retention Survey sheds light on the importance of providing professional development opportunities for staff, revealing that 68% of employees claim that their organisation doesn’t offer progression and development opportunities. This is a particularly concerning finding given that many workers take development opportunities into account when seeking new employment, however, it also indicates that organisations with well-structured development programs can gain a competitive edge over those that do not.
Offering training and development opportunities is also a valuable way to boost productivity and performance, thereby making your marketing campaigns all the more appealing and engaging. There is an abundance of online resources you can use to upskill and reskill your marketing and communications staff. Marcomm Training offers a wide range of bespoke webinars and high-quality training courses, while CASE provides sessions on leadership and personal development for marketing teams.
If you are looking for charity-specific development opportunities for your staff, CharityComms is a great option. This membership organisation for charity communications professionals is committed to educating users on best practices for marcomms in the charity sector, offering webinars and workshops on subjects such as digital marketing, social media, and content creation.
Innovation should be at the heart of your marcomms team’s ethos, so it is vital to promote a workplace culture that champions collaboration and creativity. To ensure that your marketing campaigns succeed in boosting donations, generating support, and enhancing engagement, your marcomms team must be encouraged to work together to come up with creative marketing concepts. Numbers released by Frost & Sullivan reveal that workplace collaboration leads to a 30% boost in innovation, an eye-catching statistic that underlines why teamwork is essential to a productive working environment.
Promoting a collaborative culture can also improve workplace satisfaction. As our Non-Profit Salary, Rewards & Retention Survey, reveals 55% of workers feel that cross team communication and collaboration in their organisation is either effective or very effective. This finding highlights how a majority of professionals consider collaboration to be an important feature of the workplace, meaning companies that champion teamwork can expect better talent retention as well as creativity.
An outstanding marcomms team should be brimming with creative ideas designed to further their charity’s cause, and it is the employer’s responsibility to facilitate that creativity. Leadership teams can utilise an array of methods for inspiring innovation among marketing and communications staff, from arranging brainstorming sessions to investing in state-of-the-art technology like collaboration software and project management tools.
Charities that successfully motivate their marcomms teams to be as creative as possible have a greater chance of making a meaningful difference. Over the past couple of decades, there are various examples of influential charity marketing campaigns that were aided by the creativity of their marcomms teams. For example, Worldwide Breast Cancer’s ‘Know Your Lemons’ campaign was a notably innovative marketing feat that involved visual representation of lemons to educate women about breast cancer symptoms.
The evolving landscape of the charity sector demands a proactive and strategic approach to marketing and communications. Charities and non-profit organisations must recognise the pivotal role that effective marcomms teams can play in driving donations, generating awareness, and building trust with their supporters. As we navigate the digital transformation of society, the power of digital marketing and communications becomes increasingly evident, allowing charities to broaden their reach and connect with donors and volunteers more effectively.
As you embark on the journey of building and expanding your marcomms team, it’s important to bear in mind that the investment you make today can have a lasting and transformative impact on your charity's ability to make a difference in the world. By attracting and retaining exceptional talent in your marcomms team, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and continue to advance your mission with passion and purpose.
As a specialist charity recruitment agency, we are proud of what we have achieved. From connecting outstanding candidates with their dream charity jobs to helping non-profit organisations source the talent for driving donations and support, our consultants offer a range of recruitment services for job-seekers and clients across the UK.
We have been providing market-leading recruitment support since 1996, and by getting in contact with us today, you can discover more about how we can help you achieve your career ambitions or talent acquisition goals.