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Three ways to get digital this Christmas – and do some good!

Thinking about how to use digital for your not-for-profit? Joni Freeman from Good Return shares how they're using digital to do good this Christmas

Tongan WomenA week ago, we asked our Facebook community what was the worst Christmas gift they ever received. There are some pretty stunning responses: a box of tissues and a comb. A tube of toothpaste. A stuffed pheasant. A book on how to marry Mr Right and time-fighting wrinkle cream. It was all just for a giggle – but it illustrates just how hard it can be to buy the right gift for the right person.

Hi, I’m Joni, and I’m the Digital Marketing Coordinator over at Good Return, a charity which enables one-to-one loans so families can lift themselves out of poverty. And I’m behind on my Christmas shopping.

I even live right near the shops! There’s something about shopping close to a major holiday which is just disheartening – too many gadgets, gizmos, and unnecessary junk. When you work in the not-for-profit field, you know just how important each and every dollar is – and where it could go to feed the hungry, protect a rainforest, or treat a sick animal.

That’s why here at Good Return, we’re promoting our Christmas gift certificates as an alternative to ordinary gift giving. They’re also not like other gift certificates from other charities. Your loved one, friend, or colleague needs to take action and redeem the gift certificate, and in the process they decide who they want to help. Each gift is redeemed to fund a micro-loan to a family living in poverty in the Asia Pacific, to give a boost to their small business. Then, with an improved income, they can afford to improve their life.

We’re using digital to promote these gift certificates in three major ways:

1) Digital storytelling makes all the difference.

Storytelling seems to be a bit of a buzzword this year, and for good reason! Constructing a good story that brings in emotion and real details – and inspires action – is way harder than it looks. We’ve been hugely fortunate to get some pro bono storytelling training, but you need to have content for these stories – and that’s where Cisco’s Flip cameras from Connecting Up have come in.

The six flip cameras we purchased are now in the far flung reaches of the world: West Kalimantan, Indonesia; the Philippines; Cambodia; the Pacific islands of Tonga and Fiji; and Nepal. Their easy to use controls have made them ideal for use by our program team, and we’ve had some really amazing insights into the daily lives of the people who are benefitting from microfinance. In fact, the main photo for our Christmas campaign is a screen shot from a video of Apsara’s small grocery store. (Read her story on our blog for photos and the video!)

2) All-digital marketing.

You know what it’s like in the not-for-profit world – not a cent to spare. We focus our marketing efforts on the social sphere to get the most bang for our buck. Why? Because we know it works.

Being a not-for-profit in the social space, you need to focus your efforts on where you’re going to get results. We know from experience that running ads in magazines and newspapers just doesn’t bring in the people. Whereas Facebook and Google Ads do. But we’re not advertising on LinkedIn, nor posting much on Pinterest.

Part of our social media strategy is to be innovative, and to try new technologies and platforms as they arrive. It’s not possible to adapt your organisation’s website to every new trend that comes along, but you can always sign up for a new free account. We use a new platform – say, Pinterest or Google+ – actively for a month or two, then evaluate the amount of traffic and conversions we’ve had from it. If it doesn’t rate, we don’t invest more time. This lets us focus on the platforms that give us the best return.

3) The gift itself is digital.

Good Return gif certificate

No shipping delays or packaging, the gift is purchased online and can be emailed online. Or it’s just one piece of paper to print out and hand-deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping for goodies online, but the extra surcharges for shipping are irritating, and I hate receiving a big box filled with Styrofoam bubbles for one small item. 

If you’re looking for a unique Christmas present for someone this year, make sure you check out Good Return’s gift certificates! They start at just $25 and fit any size or style. 


About Joni Freeman

Joni is the Digital Marketing Coordinator over at Good Return. Originally from Canada, she has a degree in Communications and a background in communication design, small business marketing, and social media. Good Return is a charity which enables one-to-one loans so families can lift themselves out of poverty.