Marketing and Comms – Marketing Funnel

I’m putting together a course specifically for charities and non-profits. This piece is part of a collection of materials that you can get as handouts, but I’ve also posted it online because even though it was made for the Building Value program, it could be useful for lots more people.

The Marketing Funnel is like a journey that guides people from first hearing about a charity or non-profit to deciding to support it, either by donating money, volunteering time, or spreading the word. Think of it as a funnel, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. Everyone starts at the top, but not everyone makes it to the bottom. Here’s how it breaks down:

  1. Awareness: This is the “hey, look at us” stage. It’s where people first learn your charity exists. Maybe they see a social media post, hear about you from a friend, or come across an ad.
  2. Interest: Now that they know you exist, they start to think, “Hmm, this could be cool.” They might check out your website or follow you on social media to learn more about what you do.
  3. Desire: At this point, they’re thinking, “This charity is awesome. I really care about their cause.” They’re starting to feel a personal connection and are considering getting involved.
  4. Action: This is where they make a move. They might donate money, sign up to volunteer, or attend an event. They’ve gone from just knowing about you to actively supporting you.

Example: Imagine a charity that helps homeless pets. First, someone sees a touching ad on Instagram and becomes aware of the charity (Awareness). They like what they see, so they visit the charity’s page to see cute pet photos and read stories about pets that have been helped (Interest). They start to really care about these animals and want to help (Desire). Finally, they decide to donate money to help more homeless pets find homes (Action). That’s the Marketing Funnel in action, guiding someone from just hearing about a charity to becoming a supporter.

Transition from Traditional to Digital

Charities are moving beyond just mailing flyers and hosting local events. They now use social media, email newsletters, and a dynamic website to share updates about their projects, upcoming events, and stories of impact. This blend allows them to reach a wider audience and engage with supporters in real-time.

Let’s use a charity focused on environmental conservation as an example to illustrate how these concepts apply in a practical, real-world scenario

Dynamic Customer Paths

Instead of relying on a straightforward path like seeing an ad and making a donation, the charity recognizes that supporters might first encounter them through a shared social media post, then attend a webinar, before finally deciding to donate or volunteer. Their journey is non-linear, touching various digital and physical channels.

Consumer Engagement

The charity focuses on creating interactive content, such as live Q&A sessions with their project leaders on social media, to build relationships with their audience. They also personalize their communication, sending targeted emails based on past support or expressed interests, enhancing the connection between the charity and its supporters.

Content is King

Understanding the power of compelling content, the charity produces high-quality videos showing their work in action, writes informative blog posts about environmental issues, and shares impactful photographs from the field. This content is designed to resonate with their audience’s values and encourage sharing, extending their reach organically.

Community Building

Through forums, social media groups, and participation in online discussions, the charity fosters a sense of community among its supporters. This digital community space allows for the exchange of ideas, stories, and encouragement, strengthening the bond between the charity and its followers.

Data-Driven Decisions

By analyzing data from their website visits, email open rates, and social media engagement, the charity identifies what topics and types of content resonate most with their audience. This insight allows them to tailor their strategies, ensuring their messaging is both impactful and engaging.

Evolution of the Consumer Decision Journey

In this digital framework, the charity recognizes that the journey doesn’t end with a donation. They cultivate post-donation engagement by sharing stories of how the funds are used, encouraging donors to become advocates for the cause on their social media platforms. They also implement loyalty programs, offering early access to events or special updates to recurring donors, ensuring a lasting relationship.

Example in Action: The charity launches a campaign on reforestation. It starts with a series of social media posts to raise awareness, followed by an in-depth webinar on the importance of forests. Interested followers are then encouraged to support the cause through donations or by joining a volunteer planting event. After the campaign, donors receive personalized thank you messages and regular updates on the project’s progress, encouraging them to share their experience and continue supporting the charity. This approach exemplifies leveraging digital tools to enhance engagement and foster a community of committed supporters.