WRITTEN BY COREY BLAKE
Last month, we talked about the Importance of Digital Ambassadors to Nonprofits. We learned that personal recommendations from fundraising ambassadors can have an 82% success rate at converting first-time donors. The Lobero Theatre Foundation saw this happen first-hand during their Give Day 2018 campaign when 15 of their new Ambassadors raised over $6,000 from 44 donors who had never given to their organization before.
The question is: how can you make this same thing happen for your nonprofit?
Storytelling plus a goal with a specific impact is always a big and necessary piece of the puzzle. You’ll see us cover those topics elsewhere on our blog. Equally important with this type of campaign is having the best, most committed digital ambassadors in place. Recruiting excellent people to be your peer-to-peer, digital ambassadors will raise awareness and bring in donations from their own personal networks.
The key to a successful digital ambassador is enthusiasm. The more passionate they are about your organization, and specifically your campaign, the more motivated they’ll be to reach out to their friends and family to share. It is that enthusiasm which will drive and inspire their friends and family to donate.
FIND YOUR CAMPAIGN THEME
Before you start recruiting, you must know your campaign theme. What are you raising money for? The more details you can provide, the better. Connect the campaign to your beneficiaries, as individual stories usually resonate best. Paint a picture that will help your potential ambassadors see how their help would make a difference for the people you serve. Show them how they can be the hero in your campaign’s story.
Once you know what you’re raising money for, and what will be accomplished by hitting your goal, you may immediately think of some volunteers, board members, staff, past donors, and maybe even past beneficiaries, who are passionate about seeing those results become a reality. These passionate supporters make up your first group of potential digital ambassadors. They are already personally invested in your mission and have a vested interest in seeing your campaign succeed.
LISTEN TO YOUR PEOPLE
If you didn’t come up with many names in the previous section, then perhaps it’s time to invest in getting to know your constituents better. The longer a nonprofit has been around, the higher the likelihood that they’ve lost track of (or forgotten about) any individuals who’ve indicated a propensity towards being a great fundraising ambassador. This is the perfect opportunity to create a simple system to track information about your constituents.
Send a survey to learn what constituents love about your organization. Make it easy for them by including a drop-down menu where people can choose from a list of impact areas or programs. Also be sure to allow them to leave their own comments. You never know what portion of your work appeals to people, and you may discover an area you never knew meant so much.
From the survey, you can then segment individuals into various lists, with each list being a potential group of digital ambassadors for different campaigns. This should give you your second group of collaborators.
If you’re having difficulty getting responses, or are worried no one will want to fill out a survey, then try making it part of a contest. Give away a t-shirt or other fun item with the survey being the entry form. Then promote the contest through email, text, and social media. Speaking of social media…
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STUDY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
If your nonprofit is active on social media (and it really should be), you’ll find a lot of good clues leading you to potential digital ambassadors. Review your posts and look for the names that keep popping up. Who likes your posts? Who frequently comments and/or shares your content to their own walls? Due to various privacy settings, you may not see everyone, but it will give you a good sampling of your most passionate and active followers. Hashtags are another way to search for people. Have a unique hashtag for each program and be consistent in your use of hashtags. You can then see who is talking about which subject the most.
It’s important to note not only who interacts with your posts, but also what kind of posts are getting them to interact. If you see someone pop up every time you post about a certain program, that person may be a great candidate for a fundraising campaign related to it.
Social media analysis is an important step because digital ambassadors are primarily going to be operating online and therefore need to be comfortable being active in that space. This kind of digging can uncover the people who will be the most enthusiastic and adept at inspiring their friends to give.
ASSEMBLE YOUR AMBASSADORS
By now, you should have three groups of great potential digital ambassadors for this specific campaign: those known within your organization for being passionate about your cause, those found through your surveys, and those found on social media. Don’t be surprised if some show up in two, or all three groups. In fact, the more frequently they show up, the more likely they’ll be an excellent peer-to-peer fundraiser.
The next step is to reach out and invite them to become a digital ambassador. Whenever possible, rely on personal connections. If someone within your organization knows anyone on the list, have the invitation come from them. Similarly to how new donors respond best to the relationship they have with a digital ambassador, new digital ambassadors will respond best to the relationship they have to a representative within the organization.
Challenges, prizes and other incentives are also great ways to lure in new digital ambassadors. Gamifying your campaign can create a whole new element of friendly competition. Set them up with branded peer-to-peer fundraising pages to make sharing even easier.
However you structure your campaign, keep it fun for your digital ambassadors. Provide them with lots of resources, and thank them often for their hard work. Part of the excitement for them will be to work more closely with your organization, which can open doors to future gifts and volunteer opportunities.
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