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Charity Marketing: Inbound For Charities and Non-Profits

Updated 10th June 2020

Charity marketing, also known as cause marketing, is changing. Charities and non-profit organisations today need to find a more efficient ways to reach out to their target audience. For marketing teams looking for an effective charity marketing strategy, inbound marketing gives charities and non-profits an opportunity to reach a greater number of people quickly and build support for their cause.

Charity Marketing Inbound for Charities and non-profits

Source; Free Range



Sharing Personal Information Through Video
Tips for Shooting Videos

Charity Marketing: Connect Actions to Numbers
Charity Involvement and Lead Nurturing
Premium Content
Active Segmentation and Management
Active Presence on Social Media
Involve Strong Personalities
Discover and Promote Your Key Value Proposition
Creative Headlines and CTAs

Future Technology Trends
Further Resources


It is very important for non-profit organisations to understand the concept of inbound marketing in relation to the charity market. Inbound marketing uses online content to attract people and build a community of individuals who are interested in becoming a part of a charitable cause.

It encourages non-profit organisations to connect with their potential donors. This marketing strategy for charity organisations is often implemented with the help of specialist charity agencies.

Inbound Marketing Strategy For Charity And Non Profit Companies

Inbound marketing comprises of two basic components that are essential for charities:

  • People are fond of content. Especially digital content, so in many ways a regular charity need to become a digital charity.
  • Online information can be easily understood and shared by acquaintances and friends, so there is often an emphasis on charity social media campaigns.

In the age of digital information, millions of pages of content are shared on online platforms on a daily basis. Messages, posts and links of web pages and videos are viewed and shared by people all across the globe.

Digital marketing (the way businesses share this information is disseminated to potential customers) can be split into two types (see diagram).

Charity marketing strategy - outbound vs inbound marketing

 Source: Hubspot

Inbound techniques enable a charity's marketing strategy to be built on a data driven methodology.

You begin by creating and publishing engaging content such as blog posts, videos and PDF reports. That will be shared on social networks. Simultaneously, you use inbound methods to track the people who are visiting and consuming your content. An experienced charity focused marketing agency would be able to set you up with a framework to do all of this.

A Charity Digital Marketing Model

Source:Free Range

As you track your potential readers, you develop a particular type of content that you believe has value to your consumers. This is a simple exercise of identifying the personality of your viewer and studying the type of content they prefer to read.

 Charity marketing strategy template

Source: Hubspot

Your aim with inbound marketing when working for a charitable cause is to raise awareness and attract supporters and donors. It is important to publish informative and regularly updated content that connects with your supporters on a personal level, motivating them to support the cause. This also encourages them to spread the mission to their personal network of friends.

Recommended Action Summary:

  1.  Create online content to attract people.

  2.  Share your content on social network.



One of the best ways to engage your audience is to show them how their support helps to the cause. It gives your current and potential donors a better picture of how their efforts, small or large, make a difference. So first of all, introduce a problem and then show your audience how their support will assist in solving that problem.

 Digital charity campaigns

Source: PixaBay

Now how can you use your content to convey your message, and the impact of your benefactors' support?

Here are a few accessible and easy ways to implement inbound marketing techniques and create a great non-profit marketing campaign:

Sharing Personal Information Through Video

Videos have the most power when it comes to communicating a message. They have the power to go viral within a few minutes. Psychographics is a concept commonly used to emotionally engage the viewer. Some of the best charity marketing campaigns make use of a powerful and dramatic video to communicate a message, and the impact of donation.

Charity Digital Marketing Techniques

 Source: PixaBay

For example, you can watch the video of 9 year-old fundraiser Rachel Beckwith, who died in a tragic car accident before she could meet her fund raising goals. This story engaged thousands of people in the world and motivated them to donate in her honour, raising more than $1.2 million dollars. There are more than 200,000 views of the video on YouTube, while it continues to be an inspiration for people even years after her death.


Charity digital campaigns

 Source: Pexels

Tips for shooting videos 

You might be thinking "The idea sounds amazing, but our organisation doesn't have a large production team to shoot videos like this." But most organisations simply outsource to an individual or video company who are then responsible for shooting and editing of the videos.

Or even tap into your group of volunteers and find a person who owns a camera and knows about a few editing tools. The digital age has made learning and processing much easier. It may take less than a week for someone to become familiar with basic editing skills to create a compelling short video.

All you need to have is a strong concept or a story line. Shooting video on a mobile phone is also completely acceptable. The quality is good enough for online video and the results can often be more effective as they are seen as more 'real' than a fully funded production shoot.

 Charity ad campaigns

 Source: Free Range

Here are a few video ideas:

  • Highlight volunteers who have been involved in your charity from the beginning.  Shoot an interview, question them for reasons why they support the cause and the kind of relationship they have with your organisation
  • Shoot a video that covers details of your upcoming campaign, or a target you want your charity to reach. Answer the question every donor has in mind: “why donate?"
  • Once you have enough visitors, create a video longer than 10 minutes, highlighting the achievements of your organisation so far. The trick here is to keep the focus on the donors and volunteers, implying that without their support it would have been impossible to help those in need. By the end of the video, quote your future plans and how donors and participants can be involved in the mission.

Recommended Action Summary:

  1. Introduce a problem and show your audience how their support will assist in solving that problem.

  2.  Show information through a video.



Imagine increasing your audience twofold within a year. Blogging is a powerful tool to reach out to your audience and increase awareness for your cause.

It helps if you are industry focused, so your content is highly relevant for your sector. Blogging for readers in life science marketing will be publishing very different content to those blogging in the general hospitality sector.

Regular blogging helps you connect with your potential donors in several ways. Two to five blogs every week generates more awareness and traffic. However, each and every blog must have a unique way of capturing the attention of your donors.

Companies That Blog Generate 126%
More Leads Than Those That Don’t

 Source: Hubspot

Quoting the same message again and again will not help. Every week, you must post content that is informative, compelling and emotional enough to bring the same visitors back to your page.

Charity promotion ideas for blogging

Source: Free Range

Here are a few blogging ideas:
  • Update your audience about the recent events that may require their help and  attention
  • Ideas on how they could reach out to those in need
  • The progress your organisation is making with their charity
  • Behind the scenes
  • Pictures of the events
  • Personal stories of afflicted people
  • Happy events to motivate your donors

There are thousands of great subjects you can cover to increase advocacy, credibility and awareness around your non-profit. It is vital to determine the relevant content your audience would care to read.

Charity Marketing: Connect Actions To Numbers

Marketing strategy charity - how to raise moneySource: Free Range

Donors to a cause always like to know how their money has been spent. Most donors fear that their money being wasted on admin costs rather than directly helping the cause. Convince them otherwise. Building a relationship between the donor and the cause is the most effective strategy to keep your volunteers and donors motivated.

Marketing a charity


For example, if someone donates £10 to the charity, you can illustrate how that money has been spent to purchase clothing for a homeless child. Imagine how more effective that is compared to just publishing generic statistics of results.

 Charity promotion

Source: Free Range

Tie the donation amount to either the psychical attributes of the mission or to organisation or campaign progress. Show the influence of a benefactor’s support to motivate them for future donations, and encourage them to spread your message.

Once a donor feels tied to your mission it becomes much easier to get further help from them and their circle of friends, acquaintances and colleagues.

 Non-profit marketing strategy

Source: Free Range


There is no better way to communicate your point than by using a picture. An image is not only easy to understand, it stands out among an ocean of words and is more frank and direct. Infographics are useful commodity and a brilliant way to quote numbers.

Charity Involvement And Lead Nurturing

Now let’s say that your charity marketing campaign has captured interest but has not yet convinced anyone to make a donation. This is the point where you can increase involvement by providing evidence. 

Non-profit marketing agency: Building engagement with social media

Source: Free Range

Lead nurturing is an exciting way of staying in the minds of your audience for longer than 5 minutes. It helps you educate your potential donors and keep their attention until they are inspired enough to make a donation. Sending evidence-based emails will help you inspire your future donors.


Marketing for non-profits: Lead nurturing

Premium Content

Premium content can be used effectively to help motivate and educate people interested in being part of your cause. It's a real gauge of how inclined and inspired someone is to support your organisation.

Non-profit marketing plan template

Source: Free Range 

It's possible for non-profit organisations to generate content that serves both donors and audience. Premium content can be designed in various formats such as webinars, case studies and downloadable pdfs or ebooks. Basically, any large piece of information that's educational and interesting to read will grasp the attention of your audience.

Non-profit marketing ideas

Source: Free Range

However, it's important to segment your information by designing a content strategy for each stage that your readers are on in engaging with you. In online retailing this is known as the buyers journey, but it is also relevant to tracking the visitor-lead-donor path. The key to success here is to pair the strategy with content goals.

What is non-profit marketing

Source: Free Range

Active Segmentation And Management

To effectively target your potential donors with relevant content and nurture them to the point of generating revenue, it's important to segment and manage your digital lists of donors.

There will be individuals who may show interest in your cause just once. And then there will be other donors who contribute consistently. People give to charities in different ways, hence segmentation of donors is critical to understanding who you need to inspire most.

Marketing strategy for non-profit organisationsSource: Free Range

Marketing automation software can help with this segmentation process This software can assist you in keeping a track of the information about your donors. You can easily track the last time a donor made a contribution, the events a particular group of donors show interest in, what keeps them interested in your cause, the pages they regularly visit and the emails they readily respond to.

Charity marketing ideas

Source: Free Range

 This information should help you develop smarter and more targeted strategies to engage donors. This system is easy to use and integrates with all your marketing tools including social media, blog, websites and emails etc.

 Charity social media strategy

Source: Free Range

Active Presence On Social Media

Social media has become one of the most powerful means of communication. So working on your charity social media strategy is key.

Reports have shown that a message conveyed through social networks has 60% better chance of visibility and engagement with an audience than outbound marketing methods.

Having an active presence on social media helps you draw support and encourage long lasting relationships. Developing company profiles on networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn increases your accessibility and ability to interact with your audience.

How to market a charity

Another significant capability is that social media allows you to directly communicate with your donors. This increases trust and helps them believe that you're not a distant organisation they can never actually interact with.

Not only can social media allow you to share your corporate information, but your donors can share their own content as well. Say for example, you share a video that prompts them to make a donation. Then a donor shares a message about their experience with your charity. This helps future potential donors learn about the experiences of other similar people.

Marketing a non-profit using social media

Social media is a free and it's easy to manage a variety of channels. It takes less than a day to fully develop a page on Facebook. Non-profits must try to develop a content calendar that dictates the content to be posted, platforms it will be on, and the time at which it will be published.

Once posts have been designed, update and visit them regularly them to see if any of your donors are awaiting a response.

Charity social media strategy, connecting and sharing using social media networks

Source: Free Stock

It's always better to talk about ongoing events or current donors rather than your own organisation. The content you post must be relevant to your cause. What many organisations do is post general information about the importance of charity, or the success of the campaigns other than your own.

Those contacts you're in a relationship with tend to want to know what you are working for, and how their relationship with you is beneficial for them. Building a relevant buyer persona is a good way to identify what content your different donor types would appreciate.

How to market a non-profit using brand marketing

You can post content about different possible ways the audience can help support your cause. For example, if you're collecting donations for a children's health campaign you might post about charity funding, or information on how to donate items that may help such as clothing, filters, proper utensils etc.

 What is charity marketing

Source: Foter

Involve Strong Personalities

Although it may seem like a long shot, depending on the size of your organisation’s success, it is always beneficial to form partnerships with either influential organisations or personalities.

For example, there maybe a famous TV actor that with a large following on social media. Why not ask them to be a part of one of your campaign videos, or to simply support the work your organisation is doing.

You don’t always have to pay thousands of pounds to these people. They’re often happy to be part of a charity advertising campaign. If finding a celebrity is not working out, you can always find the assistance of more established charity programs that may agree to collaborate with your related cause.

 Non-profit marketing mix

Source: Free Stock

Inbound marketing for charity and non-profit follows a strategy similar to that of an outbound marketing strategy. The only difference is the platforms used.

If you are looking to create the best charity ads (such as prints ads or digital adwords for charities) then any advertising for charities requires a strategy statement, around which your entire promotional tactics work. These should be built around your core charity campaign ideas.

For example, FedEx is fast. Your organisation must identify a singular motive. Perhaps you're collecting donations for a health campaign, home building, cloth distribution or providing clean water. Any visitor or donor thinking about your organisation needs to immediately think about your core service.

charity marketing plan template

Source: PixaBay

 Discover And Promote Your Key Value Proposition

 A value proposition cannot be chosen without careful consideration. You have to hit the core pain point of the donors, which may include:

  1.  Most of the people who give charity want to know whether they are directly helping those in need, or are helping the organisation progress in the field.
  2.  3 out of 10 donors fear that their money won't reach the people they have actually invested in.
  3.  In the non-profit world, there is always concern about western non-profit organisation rushing into foreign states and executing solutions without understanding the needs of people.


Charity direct marketing targeting your non-profit audience

Source: Free Stock

How do you make a decision? Before you select a value proposition, learn about your audience/customers and interact with them concerning their pain points and elements they consider to be important.

Once you have determined those, your value proposition needs to both help you stand out against your competition while also representing you as your target market wants to see you. Make sure that you highlight your strategy statement in each of your inbound marketing platforms, such as a website or social media pages.

Your value proposition should appear as a headline on the main page of your website or social media. You should also use it in videos, blog posts and social media content.


Marketing strategy for charity organisation using social media

Source: Free Range

For example, "Charity Water" subtly applies this technique as their value proposition is a significant part of their entire operation. That's exactly how you should be running your marketing campaign.

Creative Headlines And CTAs

Imagine holding a magazine with a beautiful cover page. It immediately grabs your attention and forces you to look again. Virtual platforms are no different. It always pleases the audience to read something visually pleasing and eye catching. A carefully designed headline that highlights the basic message is important to keep the attention of your visitors.

colour-pencils brand marketing guidejpg

Source: PixaBay 

Similarly, the tone of your message plays a significant role. It has been shown that headlines and pages that use psychographics are often more successful in ensuring that their content is read. The tone in which you write your content is always important.

Non-proft marketing companies can reach a wider audience

Source: Free Range

Another important element here is to avoid using emotional triggers too often. Sometimes you can use an inspirational tone or a happier one that allows donors to realise how much impact they're having in the lives of those they are helping.

A positive tone is always more convincing. Of course, there will be posts that require emotionally charged texts and visuals, but you can always communicate and connect with your customers by sprinkling happier messaging here and there.

smiley charity branding logo

Source: Pixabay

Beautifully designed pages and the use of relevant music in your videos always leave a mark in the minds of visitors. Use their memory of your visuals as a way to build your audience. Excitement, inspiration, joy, and awe are all elements that work well.

Charity marketing strategy examples using video

Recommended Actions Summary

  1. Create content that's informative and compelling.

  2. Build a relationship with donors and nurture them over time with high quality content.

  3. Create premium content: eBooks, case studies, PDFs and webinars.

  4.  Keep track of all the information you can on your donors and use social media to be in  contact with them regularly.

  5. Set up partnership with influential organisations or personalities.

  6. Make sure that you highlights your strategy statement in each of your inbound marketing platforms.

  7.  Design your headlines with maximum visual impact to attract attention.


Inbound marketing has become one of the most effective marketing strategy. By 2013, 69% of all organisations were using some form of inbound marketing strategies to attract a wider range of customers.

Advertising for charities using Inbound MarketingThere is social and regulatory pressure for charities to raise money in a sociably respectable way and do so with a strong ROI (Return of Investment).

Charity advertising campaigns - New ways to raise funds

Source: Free Stock

The old ways of running charity advertising campaigns have lost their charm and there is a big push for charitable causes to change the way they communicate with the public and with their donors.

Inbound marketing helps charitable organisations attract a wider audience using simple and attractive digital tactics. There is more than one channel that can be used to attract potential donors: email, social media, websites, video channels and more. If done right, inbound marketing promises more potential for growth than outbound marketing.

Marketing plan for charity event - comparing Inbound and Outbound marketing

Future Technology Trends

We are seeing a number of important new trends appearing in the inbound space. In particular the increased used of video in the fundraising process driven by better video analytics platforms. AI driven systems and the importance of online chat both live and with automated chat-bots are on also the rise. We will be reporting on all of these in future articles.


  1. Inbound marketing is more successful than outbound marketing.

  2. An inbound marketing strategy provides multiple benefits for the non-profit and charity sector. It helps to attract potential donors.

  3. Inbound better matches future requirements for ethical fundraising.

Further Resources:

  1. Top 10 Live Chat Software
  2. 10 Quick SEO Tips for Non-Profits


Inbound Marketing eBook For Charity & Non-Profits