Marketers and communications professionals working in the not-for-profit sector are always needing to think of inventive and cost-effective ways to spread the word about their charitable or social cause.
Charities are under an enormous amount of pressure in an economic climate that is biting hard both for everyday consumers and for those in need. After experiencing a dramatic dip in donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians are slowly starting to give back more to charities, but it has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels of giving, according to Roy Morgan.
In a time where charities need to think laterally about how to attract donations, working with social media influencers can prove to be an out-of-the-box solution to common problems in the sector.
No matter the industry, marketers typically gravitate towards using social media influencers to capitalise on an alignment of values between an individual and a brand. What’s more, an influencer usually enjoys high levels of trust with their followers. Charities and not-for-profits are an ideal match for marketers prioritising values alignment and trust to attract donations and awareness, because influencers will tend to only want to work with charities that align with their personal values.
There’s a growing trend of social media influencers seeking more meaningful and purpose-driven content. A survey of 554 English-speaking Instagram influencers by HypeAuditor shows an overall eagerness amongst social media influencers to support charities.
63% of those surveyed expressed a willingness to create content for and with charities for their social media accounts, with mental health, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness their top categories to explore. A further 74% of influencers believe cause-related content resonates well with their audiences.
Purpose-driven content is designed to reflect values (such as promotion of good mental or physical health, equality, or helping the voiceless) within the confines of an individual or an organisation’s communications. With so many consumers now shifting their dollars to organisations that prioritise and vocalise their values, it stands to reason that influencers who share their charitable passions will also attract engagement. Indeed, a recent survey of Australian shoppers found that a brand’s values and ethics matter to 88% of consumers, and there’s no doubt that this applies to the influencers they engage with too.
As a marketer in the charity sector, it can be daunting to begin the process of working with a social media influencer, particularly if you’ve never done it before.
Engaging a social media influencer, either as a one-off or as an ongoing ambassadorship, can be fraught with concern for marketers, particularly as they may not know who can be trusted, or whether or not their audience is made up of genuine followers (rather than purchase bot accounts). There are technologies available that can automate this process.
Once the influencer has been properly vetted for authenticity, the conversation can begin about the format their content may take. This tends to be a highly collaborative and iterative process between a charity and their chosen influencer/s.
In the survey, 53% of the influencers who had worked previously with a charity said their preferred type of content to create was a video, explaining their thoughts about why they elected to work with a particular charity. The popularity of this format is likely due to its ability to convey personal emotions and connections to the cause effectively, and brings in a storytelling element that is always useful in motivating people to donate or get involved.
Organising or attending charity fundraiser events was the second most popular type of content nominated by the influencers in the survey. This shows influencers want to take an active role in the mechanics of their relationship with a charity, rather than simply be a mouthpiece. The willingness to have such active involvement in events should never be underestimated, as things like live videos on Instagram or TikTok can be very effective.
Naturally, not-for-profits can struggle to set aside a budget for extras such as marketing or advertising. One of the best parts about influencer marketing is that conversations around costs can be flexible, and change from one influencer to another. Pleasingly, the survey showed some 45% of influencers would be open to an unpaid collaboration with a charity, meaning there is every chance the influencer you’re considering for your next campaign might be interested in working with you for free.
In uncertain economic times, exploring the option of working with influencers can be a win-win for charities looking for cost-effective marketing solutions, and for influencers wishing to personalise their brand with purpose-driven content.
Alex Frolov is the co-founder & CEO of HypeAuditor and one of the Top 50 Influential Industry Players according to Talking Influence.
Alex is leading the way in improving transparency within the industry and created the most advanced AI-based fraud-detection system to set the standard for making influencer marketing fair, transparent and effective.