Digital Marketing at Manifesto: Getting your BASICS right

Illustration of person holding a giant ruler

Whether we wanted it or not, 2020 was a year for learning by thinking and acting fast. It forced us to accelerate the process of decision-making, and exercise our ability to be and remain agile. 

An unignorable outcome of this crisis is the importance of digital channels to reach all generations of potential donors.

As we step down from the sharp ledge that was 2020, 2021 will likely be a year of recovery – emotionally, physically, psychologically and economically. On a personal, organisational and global scale. 

Which is why we’re taking a moment to reflect on 2020, to help prepare us for this year. We encourage the non-profit sector as a whole to take a moment too. What will you look back at from last year and be proud of achieving? By deducing the wins from an otherwise gruelling year, we can then carve out our path for this one.


Start by…

Breathing and reflecting on where you are. You can lift your head up and look at the long-term again. As an organisation, as a team, as a professional individual, think about where you want digital to be in the next 1, 2 and 5 years. Map out these aspirations and consider what you need to do to reach them.

For many in the third sector, the past year will feel like you’ve been running before you’ve been walking. Basics haven’t always been perfect, even if things have had to keep moving anyway.   

But as Theodore Roosevelt once said: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Reflecting on last year will allow you to discern what was a success, and what was a struggle. In our experience, for many this has been the ability to get things off the ground quickly enough without even having the basics in place. Now, with time to spare, you can assess whether the digital foundation beneath your digital infrastructure is truly set up to achieve your digital goals.


But stop to…

Appreciate how far you’ve come. Whilst it’s important to keep moving and improving, motivation to do this comes from moments where you pause, and celebrate what went right.

Because ultimately, the not-for-profit sector is spurred on by the difference it makes. There’s an opportunity to capture that motivation, by promoting the sharing of insights across the sector. By quantifying the difference we’re making, we can continue to grow the market for charitable giving.


And appreciate digital…

The past year has shaken fundraising programmes, forcing charities to remove (what were once) key fundraising channels out of the marketing mix. Whilst some charities still diverted their budgets into safe, known channels such as door drops, TV, and radio, it’s clear more donors are coming online.

2020 started to change that though. During the pandemic, 76% of organisations used at least one virtual fundraising initiative for the first-time during lockdown. And 66% of charities have used online giving directly through social media during the pandemic.

The charities and organisations which continue to embrace digital will learn more, faster, and become more agile through the coming years. Especially as older, not just younger, generations become more digitally savvy.


Then continue…

To work on getting your BASICS right. We’ve created a framework to remember and bring into digital planning for 2021:

B –  Benchmarking. What metrics are you tracking over a consistent period of time? Can you identify metrics you want to build up this year?

A – Attribution. Do you know what metrics you’re using? What tools are you using to measure this performance across channels? Are these metrics consistent across your digital channels to make decisions based on performance? Do you trust your tracking and attribution set ups? 

S – Systems (and resource). Do you have the right systems and processes in place to facilitate digital projects? Do you have senior leadership support? Do great ideas often get blocked, delayed or postponed due to resourcing and capacity? Is this holding you back?

I – Insight. The best ideas are built on insight. How well do you know your audience? And what behaviours or identifiers motivate them to your cause?

C – Channel selection. Are the channels you’re on consistent with your objectives? Are you using these channels in the right way? Are there new channels you can reach your audience through in a meaningful way?

S – Strategy – does your strategy align across your online and offline activity? Do you have an integrated plan? Take a step back and think about your supporters, what touch points do you share, and does the journey make sense?


Whilst these pointers and question starters aren’t prescriptive, we hope they do give you some food for thought to start reviewing 2020. This will, in turn, help you to shape your business trajectory through 2021. If you feel you need help getting these BASICs right, feel free to reach out to our team.

Marking our third and final article in this mini-series, Manifesto has also explored the evolution of its marketing strategy approach since 2017. As well as a number of campaigns it executed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic on behalf of charities delivering critical support to some of the UK’s most vulnerable. To access these two earlier pieces, click here.

Leave a reply

You can use these tags:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up for the Manifesto newsletter and exclusive event invites