UK charities need the public’s help more than ever before in 2023. Unfortunately, rising energy prices, the cost of living crisis and the financial hangover from the COVID-19 pandemic mean that ordinary folk have little to spare.
One of the most effective ways for charities to increase donations is through leafleting campaigns, and in this article, we’ll show you how to make the most of this valuable marketing tool.
Accentuate the positive
When putting together a charity leafleting campaign, the thinking is a little different from that of a normal business campaign in terms of messaging. Many charities make the common mistake of sucker-punching the reader with distressing images and doom-and-gloom statistics in the hope that these will engender enough sympathy to persuade people to donate.
In reality, this kind of emotional blackmail rarely works and, in fact, will often make the reader feel resentful. Instead, it’s much more effective to keep messaging positive, and this is done as follows:
Focus on the result
Instead of telling people how bad the situation currently is, concentrate on telling them how much better things could be with enough funding. For example, ‘If we raise £300,000, a million children in Somalia will be able to go to school’. This kind of messaging allows the reader to envisage the goal – and the role that he or she may play in reaching that goal.
A picture paints a thousand words
We’ve all seen charity adverts featuring images of desperately malnourished or mistreated children, and while these pull at the heartstrings, that doesn’t necessarily convert into donations. In fact, this can often give the impression that the situation is hopeless and, therefore, will not be helped by donations. Instead, as with our first example, an image of smiling schoolchildren will be much more effective.
What’s in it for me?
As well as the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with doing good, your leaflet recipient will often also want another reason to hand over their hard-earned cash. An incentive such as ‘the child that you sponsor will write to you to let you know how they’re getting on’ adds extra appeal to the donor.
Don’t be greedy
Some charities put together great leaflets and adverts – only to ruin things by demanding a set amount, for example, £15 or £20. Your campaign will be much more effective if, instead, you allow donors to donate however much they can afford.
Distributing your leaflets
As important as getting your message right is, it’s equally vital to nail your distribution to make sure that your message is getting through to the right people. This is done by:
Choosing the type of distribution
There are a few different types of distribution for your leaflets, and these are:
- Solus distribution – With this kind of distribution, your leaflet will be delivered exclusively to people’s homes – meaning that you won’t be competing with any other organisations, including those which are similar to your own.
- Shared distribution – If you choose this more cost-effective method of distribution, your leaflet will be delivered at the same time as those from other organisations.
- Hand-to-hand distribution – This method involves employees going out and about in the streets in order to physically hand out leaflets to members of the public.
- B2B distribution – This method involves leaflets being delivered to other, non-competing businesses which may then display them within their business environment.
All of these methods of distribution can be effective for charitable campaigns. However, solus and hand-to-hand methods tend to have faster results, which is often important for charities such as those raising money to help people in Ukraine.
Call to action
Possibly the single most important part of your leaflet is the call to action – the bit where you tell people what you would like them to do next, i.e. visit your website, make a call or another action. You not only need to make it crystal clear as to what you want them to do, but you also need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. If you’re targeting older people, remember that they may not have access to the internet, so it’s a good idea to include a telephone number as well.
Choosing your distribution locations
One of the most important factors in your distribution is of choosing the right locations for your campaign. For a charitable organisation, there are a few things to consider here, including:
Choosing locations which are relevant to your charity’s activities are vital for the success of your campaign. For example, if your charity is involved in protecting the countryside, you’ll want to target people living in affected areas rather than those people living in large, metropolitan cities.
Age is another factor to consider in your distribution, as your recipients should include the following:
(a) those old enough to have disposable income from which they can donate and,
(b) relevance – for example, those in their middle age may be more interested in a charity which helps the elderly and, therefore, will be more likely to donate.
Similarly, if your organisation tackles a modern issue, such as climate change, you will be looking to target a somewhat younger audience.
At the risk of stereotyping, women are usually more likely to donate money to charitable causes than men. This is often still the case when the subject is more related to men – for example, prostate cancer awareness as, in many cases, it will be wives, girlfriends and female friends who will encourage men to take better care of their health.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to bias your targeting toward women when campaigning for charity through leaflet distribution.
While it is certainly not the case that people in poorer regions and areas do not donate to charity, more significant donations are likely to come from those with a higher disposable income; therefore, targeting these locations makes good sense. That’s not to say that you should deliver only to more affluent areas, but a ratio of 65 / 35 in their favour is a good idea for the best results.
If your campaign is going to focus on B2B distribution, you will be looking to target businesses in a similar area to yours. You’ll also look for businesses which run parallel to yours, i.e. those which tackle similar issues but do not directly compete with your organisation.
When it comes to getting leaflet distribution right, there’s quite a lot to think about for a campaign to be successful. The goal of a charity leaflet campaign is to persuade people to complete a definitive action, such as signing a petition or making a cash donation, and it’s important to strike a balance between persuasion and pushiness.
Keeping your messaging positive and carefully choosing your distribution locations makes it possible to achieve your charity’s goals and complete a successful campaign.