While charities face pressure to raise funds and meet their operating costs, we highlight free and cheap digital resources that can help
If your charity is dealing with a sudden restriction in funding, you’re not alone – charities around the UK are reporting that they expect to lose a third of their total income on average as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with 83% saying they will need access to emergency grant funding to survive.
But while the situation is unprecedented and worrying, in 2020 charities also have unprecedented opportunities to fundraise and spread the word about their cause on shoestring budgets thanks to digital technology and social media.
Here are some ways digital can help stretch your fundraising budget that little bit further:
Social media channels represent a cheap or even free opportunity for charities to reach a wider audience, forge valuable relationships and build an engaged community of fans. According to the 2019 CAF Giving report, one in seven people who donate using a website or app do so through social media.
But how do you manage the constant flow of social media posting and responding, with limited resources and time?
Social media management platforms such as Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck can help charities automate a lot of the hard work behind scheduling content and understanding metrics to get the most out of their posting – we’ve covered a few of them here that feature free plans.
Google offers charities the chance to compete for free advertising space as part of its Google Grants programme, with over £7,500 a month in grants offered towards search engine marketing that can help your charity’s donation ask be seen.
While we’re on the subject of Google, the search giant has quite a few free, handy tools for increasing the effectiveness of your online marketing. The reason they are free is that they make their money from your website’s data, so it’s in their best interests that you do well and keep using their services.
Google Analytics is a completely free tool that gives you access to Google’s data on your website traffic, helping you track and report on who’s coming to your website and donating and why, and optimising your site to meet its goals. Go here to view our guide to the basics of Google Analytics.
Google Keyword Planner is also free and an incredibly helpful tool to choose the right keywords that will ensure you rise to the top of search engine results.
For more on how to ’do data on a budget’ we recommend this video from charity tech-consultant Superhighways from Charity Digital’s 2019 conference, which featured easy to follow tips and free tools to collect and analyse data.
If you’re looking for discounted and donated software for charities, the Charity Digital programme has been working with vendors for over 20 years to get leading tech out to charities at the lowest possible prices. Thanks to this, we are able to offer many leading titles free with just a small donation fee which goes towards programme costs.
On the platform right now, we are offering discounted rates for donor management platform DonorPerfect. This software suite is a donor management database that is designed to help charities maximise their fundraising efforts through automated communications, donation processing, reporting and data analysis. DonorPerfect users also get access to lots of tips and how-to guides to making the most out of data for your fundraising.
You must first be an eligible charity and signed up with Charity Digital – go here to register.
Also on the Charity Digital programme, eligible charities can get access to Adobe Premiere Rush, a video editing tool as part of Adobe Creative Cloud, at a 60% discount for the first year.
Video content is now integral to social media marketing strategies and rising above the din of content that we’re all bombarded with daily. It simply grabs attention better than any other medium, as studies have shown. DIY video is proven to be an effective way for charities to stand out online and give potential donors the inside story of the work they do. It can be as simple as sitting down to interview a service user for a 30-second clip.
There are lots of cost-effective ways to create an impactful video without a Hollywood budget, such as recycling and re-editing old footage, as we’ve covered previously.
If you’re looking to improve your digital literacy and get smarter with your online fundraising, there has never been a better time.
Charity Digital is currently releasing and re-releasing a raft of content to help charities fundraise during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes free educational webinars and podcasts featuring charity tech experts:
COVID-19 digital fundraising with experts from Platypus Digital, Katie Piper Foundation and Cats Protection
COVID-19 – Fundraising in isolation, with JustGiving, Blackbaud and Become
How to boost your virtual fundraising events with tips from Aquia
There are also a number of free fundraising eBook guides being released from experts, including: