Charities with small budgets should not be put off from digital advertising, but should focus on cultivating an online audience, Third Sector’s Fundraising Conference has heard.
Rachael Job, individual giving manager at the sick children's charity Make-a-Wish, told the conference yesterday that many organisations felt like big digital advertising budgets were vital to getting attention online and generating income.
But she said that as long as advertising campaigns online were kept focused, they could be very effective on a shoestring budget.
"A misconception can be that if you want to do digital fundraising you need a big budget to have an impact," said Job.
"If you have more money then you will reach more people is the view. But I think there is a real benefit to having a smaller budget so you gain the lessons you need, then you can grow mass if you have that budget."
Job said her experience was that good campaigns run on small budgets could have a similar impact in terms of generating donations as those run by digital agencies or with larger budgets.
But she also warned that donations and income generation were not the only benefits of digital advertising, with brand recognition and an online audience also vital.
"I think it is very easy to feel like you are doing a campaign and need to generate some more donations, so let’s run this advert," Job said.
"But it’s coming back to what is the purpose and the focus of the campaign, putting yourself in the shoes of anyone you are targeting with the content and keeping it simple."
She stressed that any advertising campaigns needed to focus on the long-term picture.
Job also warned charities to not stretch themselves too far and added that "there is having a small budget, and then there is being realistic" in how much a campaign costs to run.
She said that although she had previously run campaigns on a £50 budget out of necessity, £200 was needed on a digital advertising campaign to get a proper response.