When I took on the Arctic Trek Challenge I knew I would have to donate a huge amount of time to my training, but I have also had to donate a lot of time to marketing the fundraising side. I set myself a target, to raise £3500 for Dreams Come True, and this wasn’t going to materialise out of nowhere. I have been able to use my marketing background to good effect and one thing I realised early on was that it wouldn’t just be one channel that would work, it would have to be a multi-pronged attack.
Social Media has been a huge help in raising awareness. I have used Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to share not just my fundraising page, but updates on my training, a monthly bonus ball sweep and an advent raffle. I have also used these channels to share what Dreams Come True are doing and the children they are raising money for. On Facebook starting a group has been key to getting better reach and a more inclusive and community feel around the fundraising. I have also mixed up the posts, using text, images and live video to attract attention to the cause.
Hashtags have also proved very useful and I have been able to capitalise off the back of broader fundraising initiatives such as #GivingTuesday and #BigGive. What it did show me is that you must build up awareness over time. The way algorithms work on social media now means that there is far less organic reach than there was a few years ago. Many friends and colleagues on LinkedIn especially, are often surprised to hear about my challenge and say they haven’t seen my posts, when it feels like I have been posting all the time.
Email marketing has also helped my fundraising targets. During #BigGive I sent out an email plea and raised over £400 in 36 hours. With email marketing timing and good messaging is key, so it really helped to have some research from social media as to which of my campaigns worked best so that I could really capitalise on my email marketing.
In conjunction with lots of online promotion, more traditional forms of fundraising have also generated income but also content ideas for my online channels. I always have flyers on me, so I have something to give people about the cause, and I have A3 boards with information for more structured events. I have also used the run up to Christmas to good effect to boost my fundraising efforts. Christmas Fairs, raffles, pamper evenings and sales of Christmas cards have all given me chance to not just raise money but raise awareness of the charity, as it has given me the opportunity to talk to people face to face.
Of course, to run raffles and Christmas fairs you need donations of prizes and services. My network and other local businesses have been key to the success of this.
As a FMCG marketing specialist it may not surprise you that confectionery has played its part too. I have been donated a large quantity of sweets which I have been selling at various events. My day to day business has also helped me get closer to my target as I have been giving a percentage of my profits to Dreams Come True too. I have highlighted this on my invoices which in turn brings attention to the charity.
With just a few days until the actual trek I have exceeded my fundraising target, however the competitive side of me has upped that target, and now I am going all out to see how much more I can raise for Dreams Come True. The marketing and fundraising has been as much work as the training and it has proved that, just as in business, there is no silver bullet. It is a combination of different techniques that has attracted attention and ultimately brought in donations, in the same way that utilising different marketing techniques in a well-orchestrated campaign generates business.
So, when your next marketing campaign perhaps isn’t generating the results quickly enough remember my Arctic Trek campaign. Try a combination of techniques, do more of what works and build a community around your brand that care about what you have to say and react to your messaging.
To read more about my fundraising click here.