Why not-for-profits are needed now more than ever

World paused

It has been hard to escape the doom and gloom for advertising in headlines. ITV reports there will be a 10% drop in advertising revenues across a variety of sectors as businesses are postponing or cancelling campaigns. 

We are all in totally unchartered territory. Not-for-profits are making significant strategic decisions that are largely reliant on gut feelings. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with messages around the current world situation from a macro economic, social, and psychological perspective. But, it is evermore important to distil all this information and bring it down to a micro level of asking a few simple questions, such as: 

  • ‘Does our organisation have to deliver any vital information to provide help and advice?’
  • ‘How does the current situation impact our known supporters from a social/financial/behavioural/emotional perspective’ 
  • ‘How closely related is our organisation and the work we do to the impact of coronavirus in the UK and globally?’
  • ‘How are our usual marketing strategy and communications with supporters impacted? And if our current marketing strategy is reliant on events and face-to-face, how can we digitalise?’
  • How are we set up as an organisation to minimise disruption? Do we have all the technology and information we need to be effective?
  • How are we keeping in touch with our teams? Do we have the right touch points to maintain engagement and morale?  

Looking at the implications of coronavirus from a wider view, there are some significant implications in the digital marketing environment that could provide a positive or negative impact on the effectiveness of campaigns in the not-for-profit sector. 


Potential negative macro sector implications:

  • Charities with close ties to tackling the crisis are likely to ramp up digital advertising spend, attracting more donations, reducing the share of wallet available to other charities over the coming months.
  • As the news is flooded with the approaching economic downturn, some may be cautious at investing in fundraising. As disposable income is reduced, purse strings will be tightened – charity giving is unfortunately one of the first things to go. We cast our minds back to 2008, charitable giving in the UK fell by 11%. It is important to strengthen relationships with existing donors, and remind them of what their gifts have managed to do. 


Potential positive macro sector implications:

  • Increased levels of social isolation are very likely to lead to increased levels of social media usage, and general web browsing. In China, screen time was up 20% during the lockdown. This should, in turn, lead to an increased availability of impressions. 
  • Combined with many organisations panic-pausing their marketing activity, this could result in largely reduced costs of digital advertising media. This is resulting in a drop in CPMs and CPCs which may make any investment made at the moment more efficient. This price reduction could offset any downturn in ad response or conversion rate, i.e. we may see fewer conversions coming through, but at lower CPAs.
  • Reduction of entertainment spending during social distancing. For many people are not spending as much shopping, eating out, cinemas and theatres, people may be more willing in the short term to give.


So, what should we look out for? 

To determine the effects of COVID-19 upon digital marketing campaigns, there are a number of indicators / metrics we will be monitoring closely. We have identified these below, as well as what to look for in cases where you are also running your own campaigns in-house, or with other agencies: 

  • CTR – The first indicator of a drop in campaign performance is a drop in click-through-rate i.e. people responding to your ad creative at a lesser rate 
  • CPM – The amount you are paying for your digital media may increase / decrease depending on the audiences / terms / placements you are targeting. Increase in price may indicate you are targeting a particularly competitive audience
  • Conversion Rate – People may remain interested in your event / donation ask / content, etc. but may have lost the propensity to convert in the short term. Event-based campaigns are perhaps more likely to be affected by this
  • CPA / ROAS – Any of the above, or combination thereof, are likely to ultimately impact the CPA and ROAS of live campaigns. However, this may take longer to become apparent


There are lots of resources out there with information that can help you, your service users and your staff. The most important thing right now is social cohesion; let’s all pull together. The World Health Organisation are sharing updates, guidance and information daily. 

The Manifesto team is here, and we can help with any challenges you may be facing, we’re happy to do a quick call if you need to troubleshoot anything. We’ve also created a remote workshop guide for you to use. Whatever we can do to help to keep you going, we will. For any digital marketing guidance we will be doing a weekly zoom video session, please get in touch with Phil & Lou. Anyone is welcome.

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