Marketing is challenging because it requires money. And in the case of non-profit marketing, it is more challenging because of lower budgets.
But, market your cause, you must.
You will need to do your research and know your audience well. You must use data and analytics from your website and social media channels to better understand what motivates people to give to your cause.
A Non-Profits’ greatest asset is real stories about real people. In this blog, we are going to talk about how non-profits can leverage user-generated content (UGC) to increase their mission impact.
What Is UGC?
User-generated content (UGC) is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands/organizations. It could be in the form of a social media post, podcast, review etc. And brands/organizations will often share UGC on their social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels to build trust.
What Is the Role of UGC in Non-Profit Marketing Strategy?
What is the big advantage of sharing user-generated content on your platform? Here are three reasons why your Non-Profit, big or small, should consider UGC as a critical component of the marketing strategy.
1. It builds trust
Trust builds loyalty which, for a non-profit, translates to advocates who believe in their cause. According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, which surveyed more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries, 92% of consumers trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, more than promotions by a brand or organization.
2. It promotes authenticity
We are living in an age of skepticism. Trust is the most important thing for consumers today. People are willing to offer a part of themselves to brands that are high on authenticity and purpose. A study showed that consumers are 2.4x more likely to say UGC is most authentic compared to branded content. With UGC, your supporters are organically marketing on your behalf!
3. Boost virtual fundraising
When you run UGC campaigns, you are in turn gathering “mentions” and “share of voice” across social media platforms as well as on your website. When people are talking about your cause on social media, this talk creates a multiplier effect where friends of friends, their followers and other like-minded people learn about you. People are encouraged to support the cause their peers talk about and in turn this helps your message spread across a larger audience. According to the ‘Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age’ by Stackla, UGC is the most authentic form of content. Same report also revealed that consumers are 3X more likely to say that content created by a consumer is authentic as compared to content generated by the brand itself. Thus, UGC makes it more authentic for people to support you and in turn contributes to boosting your fundraising efforts.
If you are still not convinced, check out this blog on ‘Social media stats for charities and non-profits [2021 update]’. Once you do, come back to put user-generated content in context with the metrics you learn from that article.
What You Need To Know Before Executing A UGC Campaign
By now, I hope you are convinced of the value that UGC can bring to your marketing activities. Of course, it doesn’t just happen! It takes effort and time for your marketing team to get the ball rolling. Perhaps you already have a few advocates who naturally create UGC for you. That’s great! But if you want to get the most out of UGC, it requires you to take the first step.
And that is — ASK!
Ask your supporters what they like about your work; ask them which social media channels they prefer and what type of content they like to consume. And make it super easy for them to share that content with you and their peers. You are not only building trust and authenticity, but also during times when you are struggling with content, UGC will come to your rescue.
How to Incorporate UGC in Your Campaigns
Step 1: Evaluate
The first thing you need to do is identify what your supporters feel strongly about.
What social media channels do they prefer to hang out on and for what purpose?
What type of content do they like consuming, is it in the form of videos or text, or images?
Get an understanding of where they find information about community events. You can use a Survey Monkey form or Google form, and send it to your recurring donors or donors who have supported your cause.
If creating UGC is something new for your non-profit, seek inspiration from your peers who are already doing it. For example, the British Heart Foundation does fabulous work in incorporating UGC into its digital marketing strategy. You can read more about it here.
Step 2: Think Win-Win
Encourage your followers to create a video or share a photo focused on why they feel strongly towards your cause. Give a shout-out on social media to the top posts. Or perhaps you can partner with local businesses to offer a gift voucher or discount or a free first-try for anyone who tags a friend in your social media post.
Step 3: Leverage Virtual/In-Person Fundraising Events
The fundraising event is an essential part of non-profit marketing. People who have willingly agreed to participate in your event are your best sources to spread the word about your cause. Most of these individuals will be more than happy to post on their favorite social media channel about their experience at the event. Or you could tag the people and you in turn will get higher reach on your social media post.
You can also create an event-specific hashtag. You will need to plan this such that these hashtags are prominently displayed at your event venue as well as in the physical and digital marketing assets you will use to get registrations for your event.
After the event is over, do not hesitate to reach out to all the attendees to share their photos and videos from the event using the hashtags you created specifically for this campaign. Seek their permission to use it on your social media channels and website. You will be amazed with the positive response!
Step 4: Social Listening
Social media is all about being social, right? And social listening is integral for reaching and understanding your supporters and meeting fundraising goals. Be sure to engage with people who tag/mention your Non-Profit organization or use your campaign hashtags. Consistently engage with their posts, even after the campaign is over. When someone tags you in a post, be sure to send a timely response in the form of a like, comment, or share. Besides monitoring mentions of your organization name, also keep track of broader issues pertaining to your cause. Filter the relevant posts and people and engage/support their views.
GiveLife365’s Campaign Management module is a robust enabler for executing marketing strategies and communications in campaign management. Learn more about it here.
We hope you feel better equipped on how to incorporate user-generated content in your marketing channel mix. Whether you are a small or large organization, UGC is a game-changer. When done correctly, incorporating UGC will help uplift your campaigns and your credibility in the digital space. Building your community, engaging with it, and inspiring it to spread the word through user-generated content will help your Non-Profit grow and achieve new milestones.
The power of people is incredible, especially when it is for a worthy cause!