Increased advertising spend will not necessarily improve awareness of your charity, report warns

A study of 59 charities by nfpSynergy finds a relationship between media spend and spontaneous public awareness levels, but less correlation between spend and prompted awareness

The nfpSynergy report
The nfpSynergy report

Charities should not expect any guarantees of increased awareness in return for increasing the amount they spend on advertising, according to a detailed study by the research consultancy nfpSynergy.

The study analysed 59 charities for which nfpSynergy had awareness measures and which featured in financial information research provider Caritas Data’s list of the top 100 fundraising charities. NfpSynergy used the information and measurement company Nielsen to identify their media spend.

Researchers found a reasonably strong relationship between charities’ media spend and spontaneous awareness levels among the general public, but a weaker relationship between their media spend and prompted awareness levels, according to a report on the study, published today.

With five years of data, researchers were also able to look at the relationship between changes in awareness and changes in media spend. It concluded that spending money on media did not guarantee an increase in prompted awareness.

It also found a weak correlation between changes in spontaneous awareness and changes in media spend.

On average, charities that increased their spontaneous awareness increased their media spend by £340,000 a year (at rate card prices, which the authors point out are very likely to be an overestimate of actual spend).

Those that only maintained spontaneous awareness increased spending by £290,000 a year; those whose spontaneous awareness dropped had cut their spend by an average of £233,000 a year.

The authors warned: "While media spend does increase spontaneous awareness, it is probably best suited to those organisations with both deep pockets and a focused, long-term brand strategy."

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