How to boost awareness of your helpline

How to boost awareness of your helpline

19th March 2021

By Philippa Jolliffe

Unsure if your helpline is reaching all of your target groups? Perhaps you’ve launched a new service, or maybe you’ve decided to refocus your audience post-lockdown.

Having an “if you build it, they’ll come” mentality falls pretty flat unless you’re one of the cast members of Field of Dreams….

You’ve actually got to shout as loud as you can to cut through the noise. But if you’re all bark and no bite with your strategy, you’ll just find yourself screaming into the ether.

If the people you want to support aren’t flocking in your direction, it’s time to go to them.  So how can you  boost awarenss of your helpline?

Your marketing strategy

For smaller, newer charities, the idea of putting together a marketing strategy might seem a little overwhelming. But you can keep it simple.

Your strategy is really just a way of thinking clearly about your objectives, audiences, channels and resources. Why not use a free charity marketing strategy template to get you started? You need to consider how your helpline fits into your mission, vision and overarching aims, and most importantly – how you’ll monitor and evaluate success.

The following are elements we think you should consider including.

1. Website

Your helpline should be well integrated into your other channels, particularly your website. The user experience should be as seamless as possible, and your site should be accessible to people with disabilities. 

Around 96% of households in the UK now have internet access. However, more than half of all internet browsing is done on a mobile device, with 84% of UK adults owning a smartphone.

This means you need to make it possible for people browsing your website to call you at the click of a button. And ideally, they should also be able to contact you via email, text or live chat instead.

2. Social media

Some 72% of UK adults are on social media, and it’s great for amplifying word-of-mouth publicity. Your charity should have its own channels, and use these to boost awareness of your services.

Again, your social media channels should be integrated with your helpline, allowing people to chat to your advisers via messaging services.

3. Crossing the digital divide

It’s important to bear in mind that 13% of UK adults do not use the internet.

While 98% of 16-24-year-olds do go online and 95% have a social media account, those figures drop to 21% and 51% respectively for the 75+ age group. Lower socio-economic groups also have lower internet usage.

So, how do you reach out across this digital divide? By taking your message to places your target group will visit in person.

That could mean flyers, posters and leaflets in doctors’ surgeries, schools, hostels or nursing homes. To attract younger users, think about sports clubs, universities, bars and leisure centres.

You can also deepen this engagement by building partnerships, for instance with schools or health centres. That way, people hear about your service from professionals they trust, such as teachers and doctors, and you could offer talks too.

4. Media releases

Many people prefer traditional forms of media – newspapers, radio, TV, for instance – so you should also announce your helpline via a media release.

Remember: you might be asked to supply a spokesperson – e.g. for a radio interview. Do you have somebody capable of doing this?

The Media Trust has some great resources for charities embarking on PR work.

5. Paid advertising

A little budget can go a long way – if you spend it right.

Social media ads are a great way to dip your toe in the water of paid advertising. Taking out ads on the radio or in newspapers can also be effective, but pricey.

Set a budget, and carry out monitoring and evaluation to ensure your investment is paying off.

Contact Connect Assist today

So, your marketing strategy works, and calls to your helpline boom. Great! But are you able to meet the rise in demand?

Connect Assist offer outsourced helplines on behalf of a number of charities. We can operate as an overflow service, responding at peak times or out-of-hours. Drop us a line to see how we can help widen your reach.


If you need our help in developing more effective, meaningful connections with customers, get in touch today.