How can your marketing communications ensure continued support and funding for a charitable…

How can your marketing communications ensure continued support and funding for a charitable project years after inauguration?

Photo: Phil Hatcher-Moore/ Team Rubicon UKArete

Many charities are designed to react to problems that arise for people who are in urgent need of help and support — whether this is a natural disaster such as a cyclone, flooding or drought, or a threat to civilians caused by war. The work of these NGOs is invaluable. A key challenge for these organisations is to ensure that funding and support are maintained in the months and years following these disasters.

As an example, Cyclone Idai first made landfall in East Africa on the 4th March 2019 and although the Cyclone passed, the damage to infrastructure and the desperate circumstances for the millions of people affected in Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar and Zimbabwe, remain.

Using an example of emergency appeals communication support we have provided to the United Nations, we discuss how ‘marcomms’ can be instrumental in ensuring that vital funding and support continues, long after mainstream media coverage has moved on.

Rebuild and recovery

The immediate response after a disaster like Cyclone Idai is essential. But it is the ongoing engagement and support that helps communities rebuild and develop preventative measures for the future, that is just as important. It is this rebuilding and recovery phase that can often be the most challenging for NGOs as support and funding, particularly from the public, often dries up with the loss of media coverage.

A man tries to clear up his house and salvage building material in a flooded area in front of destroyed houses after Cyclone Idai destroyed most parts of Beira city in Mozambique.

Photo: Karel Prinsloo/ Disasters Emergency Committee/ Arete

Plan creative marcomms to boost fundraising

Investing in, and planning your marcomms for this eventuality can be a useful way to counteract a shortfall in funding. This could be monthly blog posts filled with stories and images from the source to keep people updated on the progress of what their support is cultivating; consistent social media updates displaying the dramatic transformations taking place; or videos and infographics that use data to illustrate the positive change your organisation is creating.

As with marketing in general, this follow-up in your marcomms is the key to raising awareness and ensuring the plight of your beneficiaries isn’t forgotten. Your marcomms could even address this issue, asking the public to sign up to monthly or weekly donations to ensure that your organisation has the funds to help people rebuild in the months, and possibly, years to come.

Images and stories have a greater impact

Data and statistics are very useful for painting a picture, although alone they can become monotonous and disinteresting. When these figures are combined with images and stories from the people the statistics refer to, the overall impact can be greater — particularly when trying to persuade the public or organisations to continue to fund your charitable project.

As we talk about in our blog on key considerations for designing a Christmas appeal, images are the most powerful storytelling device at your disposal. A great image can elicit an emotive connection to your appeal that forms the basis of why people donate to your cause.

And great content = free marketing

Planned marcomms will not only have an impact on your supporters and the general public, but also the media. Your blogs, videos, social media interactions and more will work to remind journalists, editors and other content creators that support is still needed for these people; and the images, stories and videos from your marcomms will provide the media with free content they can use to tell this story.

Photo: Karel Prinsloo/ GAVI Alliance/ Arete/ Arete and GAVI Alliance portfolio page

How high-quality marcomms secured further funding for the United Nations

The UN in Mozambique employed this strategy. They used a video we had created covering the effects of funding supplied by the Belgian Development Agency and new programmes and systems trailed in the Gaza Province of Mozambique after Cyclone Idai. As a result of this video, the UN was able to secure a budget to expand the programme to a further two provinces as well as ongoing funding promises of around £30 million from different donors.

This is how investing in carefully planned marcomms, which follow up on the positive results of the support your organisation has provided, can be highly effective in ensuring further and ongoing support for your project and beneficiaries. The content you create can often be picked up by mainstream media agencies and social media influencers providing them with the tools to tell their own story — ultimately furthering your goal of gaining continued support and funding.

The only question left to ask is, what marketing communications have you planned to support your next project?

How can your marketing communications ensure continued support and funding for a charitable… was originally published in Arete Stories on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.