Why charities need to advertise online during coronavirus

Advertising Online During COVID

When you can’t remember the last time that you spoke to your colleagues in person and working from an office is a distant memory, it can feel as though the world as you knew it has ground to a halt. This can make it easy to second guess the type of activities that your charity should be working on, especially when it comes to marketing and advertising.

In reality, the world is very much still turning but just in a slightly different way. Dixons and Carphone Warehouse saw their online sales jump up by 72% in the three weeks leading up to the 21st March, and Marks & Spencer had to adapt and develop a new partnership with Deliveroo in order to meet the demand for grocery delivery. The focus might have shifted slightly, but people are still engaging with organisations and in some cases, they’re more willing to part with their money than before. Plus, these spending habits aren’t exclusive to for-profit brands, just look at the response to Captain Tom and the 2.6 challenge.

Should charities be advertising during coronavirus?

Your charity serves a very valid purpose and that hasn’t stopped because of COVID-19. In fact, lockdown has actually exacerbated some issues, such as access to vital services, so the need for your charity’s support may be greater than ever. If you don’t promote your charity and how you can help, there’s a good chance that people who need your services won’t find out about them.

Online advertising will help to increase public awareness of your cause both now and in the future. We know it might be tricky to think about, but the current lockdown measures will end at some point and events will start up again. Although we’re all having to take each day as it comes right now, it’s good to be prepared (if you can) and think in terms of the next two years, not two weeks, using advertising as part of a longer term strategy. It’s important to keep your charity in the forefront of people’s minds so when events do begin and people can choose an organisation to fundraise for, your name and brand will be one of the first that they think about.

Finally, advertising auctions are a very common way to find and buy online ad space. The cost of ad space is based on supply and demand, meaning that website positions with large volumes of traffic and views tend to be more expensive. At the moment a lot of organisations have cancelled their advertising last minute, so some higher value spaces are currently available for less. So there is currently potential for you to expand your reach without having to increase your marketing budget.

Where should charities be advertising?

The where hasn’t really changed as Google Adwords and social media platforms are still the top places for digital advertising. For very obvious reasons people are spending a lot more time online at the moment, and there’s a blur between home and work life, so your adverts no longer need to be constrained to 9-5 Monday to Friday.

Top tip: Google Trends is a free tool which lets you see how well key words are currently performing. For example, you could type in ‘fundraising’ and you’ll see how many people have been using that word in their Google searches. This will help you to know the words and phrases that you should be including in your advert text.

Key points to remember when creating an advert

Advertising during coronavirus

  • Chose images which are relatable to both your message and to the current times, i.e use images of an individual rather than a large group of people
  • Be aware that social media news feeds are going to be more crowded than normal at the moment, so you need your advert to stand out. Include striking or brightly coloured images and put your key words at the start of your message
  • Check the policies of the platform you’re advertising on before using the words coronavirus or COVID-19, as many are cracking down on widespread fraudulent advertising using those words
  • If you run a lottery or raffle then now is a great time to promote it as people are looking for ways to pass the time. Plus, many people will welcome a distraction from every day life
  • Always always always include a clear call to action in your advert, otherwise you simply won’t see the results that you want

How are other charities advertising online during coronavirus?

Matt Collins, the director of leading charity digital marketing agency Platypus Digital, joined us to create a webinar looking specifically at which charities are still marketing online during coronavirus, what they’re promoting and how they’re doing it. The webinar is full of great examples and it’s now available on demand. You can watch it for free by clicking here.

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Toni Gregory is a B2B copywriter at JustGiving. She is passionate about creating content that shares and showcases the incredible work that charities do.