Charities tend to fall behind when it comes to digital and implementing technology, with many organisations stating that a lack of funds and skills is a cause. More worryingly, a report from Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index revealed that some charities do not use the internet, and that almost a third believe that having an online presence is irrelevant.
So far in this series we’ve covered different tools that your charity can use to improve its financial accounting and reporting. We also looked at different social media channels and creative apps to help boost your charity’s marketing efforts. In our last marketing article, we looked at the different ways Facebook, YouTube and Instagram were going to make it easier for users to donate to their favourite cause. We also found ways in which your charity and not-for-profit could create engaging content such as videos and images without spending anything.
The third instalment of our ‘Charities and technology series’, which is also the second part to our marketing segment, looks into other marketing tools your charity and not-for-profit can start using to become more productive and efficient. We will be looking at a tool that can help schedule all your social media posts automatically, an email marketing tool to help reach your target audience and also simple website solutions.
Buffer is a great social media management platform which can be used on both desktop and mobile. It’s one of the best ways to schedule your content on social media automatically, leaving you to focus on the more urgent matters within your charity. With Buffer you can create a custom schedule, according to when your target audience is most active on social media. There’s also an ‘Analytics’ button that gives a greater insight on how the content you’ve posted is performing. You can see the number of likes, its engagement rate and its viewing potential on social media as well. With this information you can gauge the type of content you need to create in order to keep your audience engaged.
Buffer is currently integrated with a number of social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. If your charity and not-for-profit uses these channels, then you are pretty much covered! The app does have a free plan, but it’s limited to three social media accounts and 10 scheduled posts. The paid plan has additional features where you can add multiple team members to spread the workload, and also comes with a 50% discount for charities.
If after reading this you want to use Buffer but seem to be finding it tricky, we’ve found this short video on YouTube that can help.
Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform and an email marketing service. You can use it on both desktop and mobile devices. If your charity and not-for-profit wants to engage deeper with potential or existing donors, then using an email tool like Mailchimp would be a good place to start.
The app is clean, streamlined and quite easy to use with its pre-set templates for email campaigns. You can also customise the templates to match with your charity’s current branding guidelines. Like many apps, Mailchimp can integrate with other programs such as WordPress and you can embed social media links into your email, making it easier for your audience to follow your online channels.
Mailchimp is currently free if you have an email list that has less than 2,000 subscribers, however if you have a bigger organisation with more complex needs, then you’re entitled to a 15% discount on their paid plan.
Getting started with Mailchimp is pretty straightforward, even if you are finding it a bit difficult to navigate, they do have some very detailed tutorials on their website as a guide.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) tool that’s used to create websites. If your charity is just starting out and you have little or no budget to host a site, then start with WordPress.Org which is completely free. Installation is only five minutes and the program contains features that you would usually see on a paid site. There are already pre-set customisable designs, security features and tools to help your website perform at its best.
When you’re ready to upgrade, you can start looking at WordPress.com. This is a paid service but has a better set of features, which will be beneficial if your charity is looking to grow. There are different payment packages, but as a standard, this will include a free domain, high-end site performance tool, email and live chat support, free themes and also the chance to customise your site.
If you’re starting out with the completely free WordPress.Org site, there’s a website dedicated to not-for-profits on how to build your website and the best plugins to install to make it run efficiently.
This concludes the third part of our ‘Charities and Technology’ series. If you had any questions on the tools mentioned or wanted some advice on your charity’s marketing, please contact Ingrid on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8551 7200.