I used to do marketing for a charity.
As you can imagine, marketing's job was to make it easier for people to give us money.
We did the obvious stuff, like:
A huge campaign launch.
Let's get the mayor or some local celebrity to speak. Let's make sure the local papers are there. Run events with the usual trimmings: balloons, props and photo opps.
I remember driving all around town to tell stories of who we helped. I would go anywhere that would have me. I recall one month where I spoke in front of a new crowd every 3 days.
Social media and content.
Write blog posts and newsletters with heartwarming stories. Post things on social media. Look for cross promotion opportunities with friendly orgs.
Everything you would expect right?
Here's the thing. These activities raised money and led to so much visibility, but as far as results (generating donations) they all paled in comparison to something that took almost zero effort:
BY FAR, the most effective channel for donations.
All the high-visibility stuff was nothing compared to us making a pitch to companies and being like:
"Would your employees donate $5 off every paycheck for the next year?"
This got 90% of the results, but 0% of the PR.
You might be thinking: "well, maybe those people donated because they attended your events or saw your big whiz-bang events?"
Nope, sometimes when we pitched, it was the first time they'd heard of us, or they'd heard of us but didn't really understand what we did.
What makes a lot of noise and gets applause isn’t always what drives results.