Marlin Communications Fundraising puzzle

Brand awareness as a critical piece of your fundraising puzzle (what she said).

— Written by Clayton Thomas, Creative Director

I’m returning from a very fun and informative few days at DigiRaise + EventRaise 2022. I heard some great speakers and got that freshly reawakened pleasure of hanging out in a large group in another city. Thank you Covid for making this year’s in-person experience even more rewarding!

I wanted to reaffirm some of the key points from Shannelle Newton Clapham from Parachute Digital outlined in her presentation ‘If not Facebook (which is the Devil) Then what?’

  • STORYTELLING
  • BRAND NARRATIVES
  • YOUR AUDIENCE

Like any organisation, your brand —ie. the way you present yourself —is fundamental to acquisition and retention of donors. At Marlin, intelligent, creative and strategic brand development is what sets our work apart.

In digital, just as in advertising of old, you need a broad, connected and aware audience. And that’s only going to happen by pulling them towards you, giving them the gift of connection and understanding, through a brand that sets YOU apart from others.

The donor funnel is a well known metric for this journey, but what Shannelle gave us was a strong case for looking back, or reminding us what we already know, about effective donor acquisition and income growth. You need a relationship with meaning.

The most successful digital campaigns are driven by deeper storytelling, longer films, more content-rich values exchanges, smarter creative, innovative narratives.

As someone who has been deep in the world of creative advertising for two decades, it was a real relief to hear someone working the digital fundraising space confirm my instincts that a Fundraising Brand IS a Brand, and that your organisations will only benefit from thinking with a stronger focus on branding that is relevant and driven by fundraising, and not separating the two.

Here’s where I want to set your sights when it comes to your charity’s brand:

1. Charities and not-for-profit organisations can have brand campaigns that compete with any other brand. Your stories are more vital, your promise more important (but don’t talk about WHAT you do; talk about WHY you exist).

2. Charities and not-for-profit organisations can shift their brand towards fundraising messaging without losing your core promise and approach (and you need to work with your Marketing + Communications team to achieve this).

3. Charities and not-for-profit organisations need films and content, which is capable of creating deeper, more foundational experiences with existing and new audiences (you can’t put an ROI on this straightaway but is critical to awareness and brand building).

4. Charities and not-for-profit organisations can look beyond Facebook to create bespoke communication channels that will not be mediated by a third party that is having a negative impact on the young, the democracy and the global attention span. (Just saying).

Thanks for saying hi, those who could, and for making Digi.Raise and EventRaise a really inspiring conference to return to; thanks to Jeremy, Ruth and the team.