Voluntary Sector Support Guidance

Marketing tips for voluntary organisations

Whether you’re creating an email, a letter, a flyer, a poster or a social media post, the following tips can help you make sure everything you send out is accurate, consistent and engaging.

Following this advice will mean your readers:

  • Recognise your organisation’s communications
  • Have all the information they need to get involved
  • Develop a better understanding of your organisation’s work

Confirm your key information

It can be easy when creating a flyer to get caught up in the colours, fonts and layout. Then it’s only after you’ve sent it to print that you realise a key detail is missing.

Start by writing out all the information you need to include on your communication as a list, so that you can tick it off as you add it to the flyer or email.

Covering the five questions below will get you started:

  • What is your organisation’s name and purpose?
  • What are you promoting?
  • When is the event or session?
  • Why should people come along or get involved?
  • How do people sign up/register/donate/get involved?

Whether you’re talking about an event, a training session, an information pack or a new service, each of these five apply.

Keep your design consistent

You want people to get an email, a social media post, a poster or a flyer and instantly recognise your organisation in there.

The best way to do this is to have a single design template that you always use.

Put the following on every communication you create:

  • Your organisation logo
  • Your organisation website or, if you don’t have one, a contact email address

Brand recognition isn’t just something big retailers need to worry about – we all need to make it easy for the public to see how much work we are doing.

If every communication you create looks slightly different to the previous one, or shows a different web link, how is someone to know that it’s all work done by the same team?

Think about your audience

You know the people who use your service better than anyone, but do you always think about who you’re writing for when creating communications?

Here are three examples of how different communications should be approached:

  • An event poster aimed at families should include child-friendly activities, an indication of food and drink offering, clear timings, a date and a website. The design should be fun and eye-catching.
  • A sponsorship appeal for businesses should be clear and professional. It should use the correct terminology and clearly explain why your organisation is a great one to invest in. You’ll be competing with other organisations – you need to make your case quickly and concisely. It must contain your organisation’s website and a contact email address.
  • An information leaflet for service users should be clear, concise and always have the same layout and branding. This will mean regular users will start to get to know your style and how you present your information.

Include a call to action

The big question to consider of every communication is: What do you want your readers to do after reading your communication?

Answers could be:

  • Call us
  • Come to our event
  • Make a donation

Make sure you have the answer to this question clearly positioned on your communication.

Proofread and test links

The final stage is to test your communication and any web links you include.

  • Here are some tips to help you check over a document:
  • Give it to a colleague to read over – a fresh pair of eyes will spot a typo that you might miss
  • Read it through out loud
  • Read it through backwards
  • Give it to someone who does not work in your organisation to read

And finally:

  • Check whether the communication answers all the questions raised in point one. Tick them off as you go
  • Check your communication has a clear call to action
  • Check your logo and website/email address are included