Free digital marketing tools we want our grant holders to know about!

The online world is changing at a rapid pace. With social media channels constantly updating their algorithms, it can be difficult to feel like your cause is being seen by your audience. 

But there are things you can do to increase your online engagement. This includes using digital marketing tools, and there are a lot of them out there. In this blog we share a few of them that are FREE to use.

We also wanted to highlight some useful resources that are available, including Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ Digital Hub, that can help you develop your digital skills.

The group of young people gather round a laptop as they play around with a DJ deck. One listens through headphones as another looks in amazement at the screen.

Graphics speak louder than words

Posts can be lost in a social media feed if there is nothing visually striking to look at. Our brains focus more on visual processing, so having an image is an irresistible draw.

Luckily, there are some great free tools to make your timeline shine.

It may be an obvious choice – but Canva is a great tool to create designs for event posters, social media posts and more! There are thousands of free templates for all your creative needs, with options to add animated gifs or music.

The basic version of Canva is free. However, charities and community interest companies can also register to get the full professional version for free.

There are lots of other web based graphic editors out there too. But if you need something more powerful you can also try GNU Image Manipulation Program, or Lightroom, a free, open source alternative to professional image software like Photoshop.

The power of email

Sending out monthly newsletters to your supporters and followers is a great way to share stories and update them on the latest news and upcoming events.

One of the best options is Mailchimp. Through a free account you have access to various email templates and can add links to your webpage and social media handles. The account also allows you to track who opens your emails and how many people engage with your content.

We recommend watching this easy to follow YouTube video tutorial showing you the Mailchimp basics.

If Mailchimp isn’t for you, there are also a range of professional email marketing platforms available at a discount to charities through the Charity Digital Exchange.

Lights, camera & call to action!

Not only do videos help convey your message, but they capture your audiences’ attention. What’s more social media algorithms love videos. They will likely make your post more visible compared to image only posts.

Even if you’re not too ‘techy’ but you want to keep up with the world of video media, there are still some great options for you.

Splice is a mobile-based video editing app where you can stitch videos together, add music and text without the complexity of packages like Adobe Suite. It’s a great tool and has a large variety of short YouTube tutorials that are easy to digest.

You might also be surprised how good a video you can make using even basic apps like Apple iMovie and Kinemaster.

Even if you are looking for a more professional option for your desktop or laptop, you don’t need to break the bank. Free video editing software like Lightworks, Hitfilm Express or Shotcut can produce good results (although with more work).

Available training and guidance

If you want to develop your digital skills further Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) have a great digital hub on their website.

They offer a wide range resources and training including:

Third Sector Lab also host a variety of online training workshops for charitable organisations so it is worthwhile keeping an eye on their Twitter account.

And if you need more tools, why not check out these handy catalogues:

Charity Catalogue – This has a range of free and discounted software for charities, from forms and survey tools to video editing software. 

Charity Digital – This is a great Charity Digital Exchange, which works with big software companies to offer a discounted prices for eligible UK charities and non-profit organisations. 

A few tips

When using these free digital tools it’s also just as important to use your funders logo, as well as your own logo.

You can download our grant holder logos here: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/managing-your-grant/promoting-your-project/download-our-logo 

Tagging is also a powerful way to increase engagement on your posts. If you are sharing your stories on social media remember to tag your funders so that they can share and interact with your posts. 

You can tag us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: 

Twitter: @TNLFundScot 

Facebook: The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland 

Instagram: @tnlcommunityfund 

Useful blog from @TNComFundScot outlining FREE digital marketing tools you can use to improve your content!

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