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5 ways charities can improve audience engagement on a budget

Courtney-Jade Mather

2nd December 2022

For charities, having an engaged audience is key. This can be for various reasons, such as ensuring meaningful involvement, generating valued donations, making sure audiences remain informed and to create a more cohesive community. All of these elements help ensure that charities have the power to impact social change and improve the lives of as many people as possible.

But despite the fact that having an engaged audience is essential, actually doing so can be difficult. With digital transformation, potential negative press and the challenge of standing out, charities face real challenges. This combined with the fact they are often operating on a minimal budget, makes the task even harder. So how can they improve audience engagement while on a budget?

1. Post on social media regularly

Many third sector organisations have social media accounts; 87% of not-for-profits worldwide use social media, however most of them don’t post enough.

Hootsuite states that it is generally recommended to post 1 time per day, and no more than 2 times per day. By posting every day, you keep the content fresh for your audience by providing relevant, timely, and interesting content for audiences to engage with.

By doing this, your followers will learn to come back regularly to check if you have posted and this way you will increase engagement. Your audience may even recommend your account to other likeminded organisations, if you content is driving impact!

People that are over the age of 75 are the most likely age group to give to charity in England and Wales in 2020. However, with 80% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 73% of 25 to 34-year-olds using Facebook and Twitter respectively, it’s also a great way to target the younger generation and engage them in becoming your next target audience.

2. Utilise QR codes

QR codes have been around since 1994 but have really come into their own since 2020, with QR code scans quadrupling over 400% in 2022.

With over 7 million people alone scanning QR codes in 2020, it’s the perfect solution to engage your audience in a way that suits their preferences.

There are various free websites that enable companies to generate QR codes to be included in their physical or digital materials, so it’s a solution that works well with those on a budget as it’s a cashless fundraising tool.

Not only do QR codes enable users to be taken to a dedicated web page, creating an easy yet reliable solution, they can also be trackable, so you can analyse the usage of them. This gives third sector organisations the opportunity to assess where the QR codes are being used, and find out which perform best.

3. Be educational

Educate your audience, so they know and understand the importance of what you do. Informing your audience why what you do is so essential and relevant gives them a wider understanding and helps to build trust, which is more likely going to result in them being more engaged.

Perhaps share what a person’s donation goes towards, for example, £5 could feed a person for one day. Presenting them with statistics on how vital it is you do what you do.

Websites and social media are a great way to share this information, without having to spend to much.

4. Enhance physical mail with custom design envelopes

Adding a simple strapline to your envelopes can cost mere pennies, but can yield huge results.

Letters signify importance, but sometimes, you need to go that bit further to increase engagement. By simply adding the word ‘IMPORTANT’ to an outer envelope, your documents will have a 90% higher open rate than a plain white one (TEU, 2022).

Charities could also try using straplines such as:

  • We need you
  • Help those in need
  • Donation request messaging
  • Help support messaging

5. Ask for feedback

One of the best ways to get the public to interact, is by directly asking them to!

Sending out surveys, either online or in the post, is the perfect way to discover what your audience think and to get them to engage. You could even ask what you can do to make them engage more.

Feedback is a key element in business success. Honest feedback allows you to improve your customer experience and recognise the areas you excel in and the ones you may need to work on a little more.

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