The Ultimate Guide to Driving Up Donations For Your Charity During a Cost-of-Living Crisis
Everyone struggles during a cost-of-living crisis: people naturally tighten their purse strings when their weekly shop suddenly wipes out all their discretionary funds like charity and they’re struggling to keep up with the rising energy costs or the big uptick in their mortgage repayments. All of this means less money is spent across the board, just because living costs have eaten up whatever disposable income a household once had.
This puts everyone in a tight spot, but it especially impacts charities that rely on donations. Big charities hurt, but the biggest victims by far are the small, grassroots organizations. The good news is that there are ways that you can drum up donations even when people’s discretionary funds are at a low.
How? You follow this ultimate guide.
· Work With a Non-Profit Marketing Agency
Working with a charity and non-profit marketing agency is one of the easiest ways to make your limited marketing budget go further. You don’t need any old agency that doesn’t understand your organization’s values or how to connect to potential donators. You need a company that knows just what you need, how to get it to you, and how to make your minimal budget go so much further.
Partnering with brands, companies, and agencies that align with your organization’s core values is key. Without those core values, your own may end up compromised without you realizing it. Similarly, you may end up accidentally aligning yourself with a business or person that hurts your NGOs image.
Be sure to work with ethical businesses that work to boost your efforts both through strategic campaigns and also by affirming your values.
· Connect With Your Audience
You’re feeling the struggle from the cost-of-living crisis, and so too are those who typically donate to you. Acknowledge it. Air it out. Using that connection is a great way to connect your community to your cause—especially if you help at-need people. After all, your community is feeling the pinch, so use those emotions to connect your donators emotionally to those that are struggling even more.
· Lower Your Donation Goals
Rather than lower your total goal amount, think in smaller increments. Tie the cost of a low-value donation to a small equivalent, such as the price of a coffee. This helps make a donation seem like a small commitment. Aiming for more, but smaller donations can do wonders towards helping your charity get the funding it needs without straining the pockets of those who are donating.
· Showcase What You Do with the Funds
Be extremely transparent about what you do with the funds. Show what that money is doing for the community and put a real-impact face onto your social media and marketing efforts. If people know that their money is truly helping and can see proof of it (rather than funds just disappearing into the ether of good intentions) they’ll be more likely to donate.
This is particularly true for charities that are helping locally. Large-scale charities are typically there on the ground during big catastrophe’s worldwide. What do those catastrophes have in common? Media coverage. People are hearing about the issues over and over again and want to help, so they donate to a big charity they recognize and trust as a way to help.
Small charities don’t typically have that level of coverage, which is why you need to showcase the issues and impact your charity is having. Use statistics, but always use them as secondary evidence. Human-first evidence in the form of photos and videos is going to go further.
· Offer Alternative Donation Options
Don’t just make it about money. If you run a homeless shelter, for example, you can alternatively work on driving up non-perishable gift donations and volunteers. You can host a market or bake sale where the proceeds go towards your charity. You can partner with local businesses and host a raffle.
These are all standard practices for charities, yes, but put those alternative donation options up further in your NGO’s priority list, because those are going to be the ways that people feel more comfortable helping out during a cost of living crisis.
· Make it Fast, Easy, and Secure to Donate
You need to make it so easy to donate. Online, this means making donation pathways that require as few links as possible. Offer multiple donation option values, one-click “checkouts,” and even the ability to set up recurring payments. If donating is easy, it’s fast, and it feels safe and secure, you’re more likely to turn someone who sees your cause and wants to support you into an actual supporter.
· Get Visible Out on the Town
You need your charity to be visible. You need people to recognize your name. Then, You need to give back. Charities exist to help the most at-need members of society, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support communities as a whole during the process. You can host walking groups, for example, that require a very small participation fee that then goes towards your charity. This way, you give your community the chance to meet new people and go on lovely walks around town, and they in turn help support your charity financially.
· Get the Community Volunteering
Volunteering is a huge part of any charity, but what you need volunteers to do can vary. You can gather volunteers who go out and host those community engagement activities to boost donations, for example. Those outreach volunteers will end up being just as important for your charity as those who help you directly with your cause.
Not only does this help you boost your donations, it also gives more people a chance to volunteer by expanding the activities you need help with. Time is valuable, and a host of people who want to help your cause is worth more than donations. Expanding volunteer positions also gives people the comfort to support in the way they’re most comfortable with.
For example, artists can create your Christmas calendar as a way to volunteer; those who love talking with others can host events where the proceeds go to the cause; those who want to directly support can volunteer to help those at-need people you’re working to support.
Give people multiple ways to directly support you, and you may be surprised at just how much good they can do both directly and indirectly.
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· Get the Attention of Local News Media
Host a charity run, kickstart a big charity campaign, have a raffle—all of these events are of great interest for local news media. See what city-wide publications are available, and post a pitch of your event to their news room, or to specific journalists, or even to influencers to see if they’d be happy to write about your event.