Better Together: Today's post is written by Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud and author of the Friends Asking Amy Blog. As the smart minds at Convio and Blackbaud converge, Team TR is excited to welcome Amy into the P2P braintrust as an additional resource for our clients. She supports customers with their P2P fundraising programs using a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan.
You’re probably wondering why I’m referencing Jennifer Hudson (J-Hud) in a post about inspiring and motivating event participants, so let me explain. I had an epiphany the other day. Fundraising is like weight loss. We all want it and we want it immediately. But, just like weight loss, achieving fundraising success requires planning and hard work. Even though there are lots of short cuts on the market, to help you lose weight fast, they never seem to live up to their promises.
So, what does this have to do with event participants? The weight loss industry does a great job motivating and inspiring individuals to buy their products. We spend more than $58 billion dollars a year on weight loss products and services. I have to admit that I contributed to that total.
For the last few years Jennifer Hudson has been WeightWatchers' spokesperson. The team has created several inspiring commercials, but I think they got it right with the first one. The campaign was built around a simple and powerful statement: I Can. The commercial features J-Hud saying “before WeightWatchers my world was can’t…, but on WeightWatchers I can”. This is an awesome message. My life was I can’t, but now I’m empowered and my life is I can. This is exactly what we need to do for event participants.
In the nonprofit events world, we’re great at sharing mission information or providing fundraising tips like how to raise $500 in a week. Let’s add another tactic into the mix and take a cue from our weight loss friends. In your next email or newsletter, include a story about an individual’s or teams’ fundraising success. Motivate your participants by sharing stories about what their peers are doing. Turn them from I can’t to I can. Plus, this is a great way to recognize your participants. They’ll be excited to be featured in your email and you might motivate them to do more.
How are you motivating your participants? Are you currently sharing peer success stories?
If you’re interested check out the commercial. It’s a great message.
Interested in Learning more from Amy? Sign up for her free webinar on How to make Social Media Impactful, Actionable and Profitable
Last month I pointed out a few of the ways you can use Google analytics, or other web analytics tools, to gain a better understanding of your audience. The next step is to keep track of changes to audience and audience behavior. Your audience can change over time, or change behaviors as they adapt to new technology. Adjustments to your website can affect your visitor behavior as well.
One great way to keep track of these elements without getting bogged down in all of the data in a web analytics tool is to set goals around online Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These are simply measurable data points that give insight into your online success. Some common examples are:
When I joined Convio after 5 years as an event fundraiser, I was first introduced to the Communication Calendar while working with the Event360 and Komen 3-Day Events. It was amazing… and I wished that I’d known about this tool while I was still managing all the communications for my special events!
A Communication Plan is a document containing of all the communications organized by communication channel that your organization (or your fundraising event) is planning to send out during a specified timeframe. This document often lives in a spreadsheet and should be used as guide that is edited or updated as you approach specific milestones. My recommendation (especially for special event communication planning) is that you include all your communication channels in your plan including Print Communications like Save the Date cards or team captain packets, traditional media channels like print advertising or press releases, online channels like email or website and also Social Media channels like Facebook or Twitter.
Check out two sample communication plans in our recently published Social Media Kick Start Guide for P2P Events.
There have been a number of posts recently about the power and importance of donor thank you letters. Some have come from my incredible colleagues here on the Connection Cafe, especially Rachel Muir's "7 Ways to Say Thanks" and Cheryl Black's "Girl Scout Cookies" posts, and I have to mention yet another great article by the Agitator team reminding imploring people to test, test, test even when it comes to the thank you, but when I received this thank you update email from Charity Water, I couldn't stop thinking about it.
While I received an email thanking me at that time, their purpose was a simple update on a gift I made about 6 months prior to their Water Forward campaign. In case you're wondering, Charity Water "invested (my) money with local partners, Relief Society of Tigray (REST) and Action Against Hunger (ACF) in Ethiopia and Pump Aid in Malawi, to build and rehabilitate freshwater wells and spring protections for people in need." To top it off, they let me know that once the projects are complete, they'll send a project report similar to this one informing me on the final outcome.
Color me impressed.
It reminded me of an experience I had when I was a high-schooler raising money for a community service trip to Ecuador with Amigos de las Americas. I was responsible for raising the vast majority of the total cost of the projects, so I took to letter writing, car washing, lawn mowing, baby sitting, just about whatever I could (legally) do to raise money as a 15-16 year old kid. When it was all said and done, I had a ton of thank you letters to write. I took to the seemingly overwhelming task, and if I remember correctly, finished just before the trip started.
Once home, my parents suggested that I write yet another thank you letter to update the supporters about all the latrines that were built, the toothbrushes that were distributed and all of the other accomplishments that their donation made possible. I responded as any typical teenager would by saying I didn't have enough time and did everything I could to avoid it. After a few weeks (months?) passed, my mom responded by giving me the most memorable birthday gift of my life: a box of monogrammed stationary. It made the point and I turned around those thank you letters as quickly as possible.
So I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to thank Charity Water for doing such a great job with their donor stewardship program and showing all of us how it's done. Rather than a box of monogrammed stationery, another donation is likely to materialize in their future.
Social media is a great opportunity for your participants to spread awareness, recruit more participants and of course fundraise, ASSUMING they have the right tools and know where to find them. Make this easy for your participants by creating a social media section on your website to serve as the hub for all social media activities.
To reach optimal results you need to provide the who, what, where, when and why in an easy to find location for your participants to access this information during their online experience. Be sure to make the webpage user friendly and clearly identify the actions steps needed for each opportunity. It is critical that you clearly define which social media channels participants join your online communities compared to the resources available for them to use in their social networks. Today we are going to focus on just resources you want participants to share.
Recommend who participants should reach out to by providing a list of the most common social media platforms; Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. Include icons and links. It is important to highlight that while the participant may favor one social media platform, their potential donors may be prefer a different platform and it is a best practice to share their messages across all platforms.
Provide both images and messaging for participants to share to each of their social networks. Customize the messaging for the different types of participants who might be using these images. For example, If your are going to provide a selection facebook timeline images, try to include a message like "Walk with me!" that would appeal to Team Captains along with a "Volunteer with me!" message aimed at your Volunteers.
Host all of this information on one page on your website so anyone visiting your page can access it but then link to this page inside the Participant Center. Identify the page as Social Media Resources and link in both your left navigation and home page. Refer to this section in all of your communications and drive participants to this hub for all social media activities.
TODAY! Ideally, These resources should be set-up and ready to go when you launch your campaign, but it is never too late to add them.
Peer to peer fundraising is only successful when participants are empowered to reach out to their personal networks to solicit donations. Each day, more and more of the population is using social media as the primary means of communication to their friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. If you are not providing social-friendly tools to your fundraisers or burying those tools in hard to find places on your website, then you are leaving precious fundraising dollars on the table for your organization's mission.
Once you've figured out the 5 W's, you should be well on your way to creating an impactful, easy-to-use social media hub for your participants to promote your event and thier fundraising activities.
Interested in Learning More?
Sign up today for a free webinar "How to Kick Start Your P2P Event’s Social Media Strategy."
Today's post was prepared by Nancy Palo, a Senior Consultant in Blackbaud's Strategic Services team with an specialty in TeamRaiser and peer-to-peer fundraising. She brings more than 10 years experience in the event fundraising space and is looking forward to helping nonprofits implement solutions to increase their special event fundraising & recruitment.
Prior to joining Blackbaud in April 2012, Nancy worked at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in California and New York where see oversaw the Society’s largest single day Walk MS and Bike MS events, raising more than $30 million during her 8 years with the organization. She studied Communications and Business at the University of San Diego and works remotely from her home office in New York City.
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