Hit the right target, charity marketers told

Many charities are "wasting their breath" in campaigns aimed at the general public, and should instead target ministers, government commissioners and potential donors, the director of communications at a children's charity told the NCVO marketing conference today.

Gail Scott-Spicer, who oversees fundraising, public affairs, press and marketing at Rainer, warned delegates: “If the general public is genuinely a key audience and a particular piece of work requires mass communication, then that piece of communications work needs proper investment.”

“If not, we should be honest and shift the communications focus to our real key audiences – such as government decision-makers and commissioners or our donors and potential donors.”

Scott-Spicer added that charities do have an obligation to keep the public informed of their work.

In a separate interview, Scott-Spicer, previously deputy chief executive of Acevo, told Third Sector that charity marketing was too simplistic. “A lot of charities have some misdirection in marketing,” she said. “It’s a bigger debate that hasn’t been explored.”

She cited Rainer’s recent success in lobbying the government over the Offender Management Bill, in which the charity took its campaign directly to civil servants. “Wide-scale public campaigning would not have been anywhere near as effective and would have cost us an enormous amount,” she said.

“If you do a public marketing strategy, you have to buy media space and pay for production and postage. When marketing to politicians, your only expense is your staff time.”

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