How Small Charities and Hospices Build National Brand Relevance

To build national brand relevance in the UK, small charities and hospices use digital and traditional marketing, promotion through events like the Small Charity Week or the Small Charities Communication Conference, and investing in brand management and branded clothing for the volunteers.

1. Traditional Marketing

  • The UK’s Charity Council defined small charities like those that generate an annual income below £1 million and usually focus 79% of their efforts on local areas, instead of national and international.
  • According to the UK’s Directory of Social Change organization (DSC), small charities need to focus on their marketing techniques and raising awareness of their brand and work to attract donors and be able to sustain the organization.
  • To create proper marketing of their brand, the charity needs to invest time in understanding its supporters and audience.
  • The charity needs to learn how to communicate effectively with its audience to promote its cause, strengths, and skills.
  • To help the charity’s sponsors, supporters, and donors understand the importance of the organization, it’s important to promote the benefits and values that will impact the audience.
  • Some aspects a supporter wants to see in a charity’s marketing campaign are a willingness to help, how they listen to the audience, transparency, simple language, respect, and trust.
  • While it is normal for large charities to focus their marketing on multiple groups, it is recommended for small charities to focus on one or two audience groups at a time.
  • A few marketing tools and techniques that are commonly used by charities to raise awareness of their work and brand are social media; newsletters or e-newsletters; advertising; street fundraising; press, radio, or newspapers appeals; people marketing on local communities, schools, or previous beneficiaries; word of mouth; sponsors and donors; face to face marketing; direct mail; personalized emails; and events.
  • Charities also use communication channels like the local and national media to make interviews on radio, television, journals, magazines, and club mailing lists; digital advertising like Google Ads; external stakeholders; and public relations like competitions, blogs, stunts, flash mobs, and photo calls.
  • Raising Futures Kenya uses traditional marketing to build its brand relevance.

2. Digital Marketing

  • Small charities can take advantage of digital marketing to conduct successful campaigns with little cost and to attract a larger audience or region.
  • To create effective digital marketing campaigns, charities must be aware of their campaign’s final goal, whether it’s fundraising, improving the website’s traffic, boost social media followers, or any other.
  • Charities can use Google Analytics to understand the demographics of their followers and use it to create campaigns targeted towards a specific audience.
  • When promoting a charity online, it is important to define the message of the campaign, the purpose, and the cause the charity seeks to address.
  • Social media advertising tools are a great ally when trying to get the campaign noticed by a lot of people in less time.
  • To have a successful charity campaign, the digital content from the photos, videos, hashtags, and messages needs to be effective, engaging, powerful, relevant, and motivate people to socialize.
  • Social media helps charities be more creative in their campaigns with strategies like using inspirational videos from volunteers, sharing articles related to their cause, building a relationship with their followers, using LinkedIn for corporate communications, and using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for challenges that build engagement, infographics, and interactions.
  • The Lorna Young Foundation, Raising Futures Kenya, and A Partner in Education use a Facebook page to promote their brand and work.

3. Event for Recognition


  • Small charities in the UK can take advantage of programs like the Small Charity Week to build national brand relevance.
  • Small Charity Week is an event dedicated to promoting, raising awareness of the work made by small charities in the UK, and celebrating their contribution on the lives of individuals, communities, and causes of the UK or the world.
  • Small Charity Week is sponsored by the Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI).
  • The six days event invites all small charities from the UK to enroll and participate in activities to expand their brand awareness nationally, get advice from national charities, interact and learn from policymakers, raise funds for their organizations, and participate in an award ceremony.
  • Some examples of small charities who won the Small Charity Big Impact Award in the event and got national recognition for their job, brand, and funds for their work are the Lorna Young Foundation (LYF), A Partner in Education (APIE), Raising Futures Kenya, Dandelion Time, and Grapevine Coventry and Warwickshire Ltd.


  • The Small Charities Communication Conference is an event dedicated to helping small charities understand the best ways to build brand relevance and to effectively communicate with their audience.
  • During the event, the representatives of small charities participate in expert sessions, workshops, peer discussions, and analyze case studies that will help them develop brand awareness.
  • Some sessions and workshop conducted during the 2019 conference focused on creating effective communication, communication alignment, creating a brand, build media presence, clear communication strategies for small charities, and more.
  • The participants can also use the event as an opportunity to create contacts from different parts of the country, that will help them create a successful branding campaign in the future.

4. Investing in Brand Management

  • To attract funds, charities need to manage and create a brand identity that is consistent and strong, with a clear vision of their values, goals, impact, and what they do.
  • The charity needs to have a clear understanding of its assets and use them to build a brand identity. These assets include the name, slogan/motto, logo, visual style, icons, fonts, colors, approved imagery, tone of voice, spokespeople/endorsers, guidelines, quotes, templates, purpose, and mission.
  • Some charities don’t count with design experts to manage their brand and digital communication.
  • Brand management can help an organization to make effective use of its brand assets, help them save resources, time, and possible costs from marketing mistakes.
  • The Lorna Young Foundation has an on-site brand and marketing manager and development director.

5. Branded Clothing

  • Every major charity in the UK invests in activities that generate income. During these activities, it’s normal for them to use corporate branded clothing to promote the cause of the organization and build brand awareness.
  • Large charities understand that their brand affects the way people feel about their cause; for this reason, they use branded clothing when volunteering, so the audience can relate their brand with activities that benefit the community.
  • From 170,000 charities in the UK, 91% rely on volunteers to conduct these activities. Dressing volunteers in branded clothing can help the charity stand out in an event, and help potential donors to understand the charity’s message and identify with the charity’s sense of commitment.
  • As emotions play a significant role in a donors decision to support a charity, branded clothing can help them feel connected with a purpose, helping the charity reach its goals.
  • Branded clothing also allows staff members and volunteers to feel valued and as a part of a team.
  • A Partner in Education even offers its branded clothing to the children they are supporting.


To understand how UK charities/hospices build national brand relevance, particularly local charities who are trying to build national awareness, we began by defining local charities who are trying to expand nationally as small charities.
After this, our first strategy was to look for case studies and articles published by marketing agencies and small charities in the UK about how they build national brand relevance. While we were unable to find any case studies, we found a report made by Savanta about the ranking of UK’s charities based on their brand value. Hoping to find information on how they’ve built this brand value, we requested access to the report; unfortunately, the report was not available to download.
As an alternative, we decided to do a reverse search, locating techniques recommended for small charities to attract more audience and build brand recognition on a national level. We found multiple articles on the subject, so we included the techniques repeated more consistently across the different sources. Our purpose with this strategy was locating the strategies, then finding small charities that were applying these and how, to confirm that these strategies are part of how small charities build national brand relevance.
While we couldn’t find statements of what these small charities do to get national recognition, we found enough examples to determine that all the strategies included to build national brand relevance, participation in events, digital and traditional marketing, branded clothing, and brand management, are being used by different small charities, and the examples showed how they do it.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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