Three top tips for not-for-profit comms

As an agency, we make sure that our commitment to being best of breed not only shines through the work we deliver, but also in the actions we take to help each other and the wider community. That’s why we’re proud to support several not-for-profit organisations including Birmingham Dogs Home and U-Hearts Foundation.

This month, communications consultant Rachel Carroll shared her recommendations for delivering a not-for-profit campaign to final-year PR students at Birmingham City University. Here are her top three takeaways, with a particular focus on charities.

Make your goal clear

As not-for-profits rely on a range of funding options, including public fundraising and private funding, there is often limited budget to play with. In turn, it’s important to make the goal of the campaign clear to audiences and straightforward to follow.

One way to do this is by including a simple call to action i.e., purchase a ticket here and you will raise money for Blue Cross. The worst thing charities can do in a campaign is make donating complicated — this can dissuade journalists from covering the story and potential supporters getting involved. Thus, simplicity should be a key consideration when planning and executing all campaigns to maximise budget and objectives.

Appeal to the emotional

To create conversions, the communication should instil an emotional reaction from the audience. There are various ways this can be implemented, including establishing a sense of urgency in the content and using attention-grabbing statistics, impactful case studies and strong visuals.

For example, when we helped Birmingham Dogs Home raise awareness of its Healing Hearts Appeal — a campaign that aimed to raise £100,000 to build an in-house veterinary clinic following the rise in unhealthy dogs being handed over post-pandemic — we emphasised the severity of the situation and included two case studies of dogs whose care and treatment was being funded by the charity at the time.

The story of the dogs enabled us to touch readers and journalist’s hearts, exemplified by the appeal being covered by key titles in the region including Solihull Observer.

Stay on top of the media landscape

Keeping a close eye on news and trends via multi-media channels is a key ingredient for not-for-profit comms. This is because every industry is constantly evolving so it is important to keep up to date on current affairs and social trends to ensure you are creating content that captures the attention of your target audience.

What’s more, being a newshound can lead to reactive opportunities as organisations can ‘piggyback’ on stories circulating in the press to gain media attention and brand awareness.

For example, at the start of the cost-of-living crisis, we spotted trends of pet owners abandoning their pets due to financial pressures, so we took this as an opportunity to raise brand awareness for Birmingham Dogs Home.

Unfortunately, at the time of contact, the charity had received 42 dogs in 10 days, meaning that both of their rescue centres had quickly reached full capacity. To help drum up support from the local community, we took a media relations focused approach and contacted key titles within the region communicating the sense of urgency.

Our comms helped persuade Midlands Today to interview the charity’s head of fundraising, Fi Harrision, and land coverage in key titles including BBC News and Birmingham Live — driving awareness at a critical time.

Do you need support with not-for-profit communications? Get in touch with us today to find out how we can develop an effective strategy for your organisation.

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