It’s a foreign concept for a charity organisation to be getting right into the thick of the teen demographic to spread influence and messages, says Michael Hornby thh CEO at the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. A lot of the not-for-profit organisations want to target the more affluent market of donators, those who have the money to spend.
“Most charities will market to those who have the potential to give, and the most obvious potential to give. Which is generally an audience of, I suggest, 30-35 plus,” Hornby explains.
However, Hornby is keen to get the teen market involved for the Foundation’s charity, The Common Good, a campaign to help continue research funding to fight diseases.
He says: “We thought the stronger audience that most corporates would love to get an understanding of is the teen market, who are ultimately going to have the future responsibility of the things we’re trying to deal with as a charity today.”
Partnering up with business innovation event Amplify for a more pronounced launch of The Common Good, Hornby says it was all about exploring the potential behind this audience.
“It seemed obvious to try and connect with a future audience who will be engaged with the challenges we all face, but also be inspired and influence people who can actually get behind the cause,” he argues.
“Typical advertising or promotions are about sending a message out there and communicating in a one-way thing, but, through the type of conversations these young people are having in social media, you’ll find a much more personal and a dedicated and engaged audience that is quite foreign to typical charitable marketing.
“It’s about having the young people provide some influence and it becomes, to some degree, a numbers game – how many people can they connect with?” Still, teens are not the only demographic the campaign is going for, Hornby stresses, everyone will be welcome to get involved.
It’s also early days for the campaign’s social media leverage. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter will be utilised a lot, says Hornby, however Instagram not so much.
“But we’ve got to hedge our bets,” he says, “and have our finger on each pipe, because different audiences will connect more deeply with different social media platforms.”
Not many people really know what goes on behind the closed doors of research labs, so Hornby says social media allows them to open up the conversation more.
However, it won’t all be about social media. While a lot of charities in the past having used one-way conversational tactics such as direct mail and EDMs, Hornby says those channels will still be used, they just can’t be the only things used.
“Ultimately the end game for us is, if we have a loyal base of supporters who are engaged for the long term, that means suitability for the research projects. Quick grabs for help, the ‘putting the hand out mentality’, is a thing of the past.”