If fundraising is part of your association’s non-dues revenue strategy, here’s something you might not have thought about: Your association’s advocates can help boost donations for your organization.
Think of these helpers as volunteer fundraisers. They can be especially helpful when your association has a small staff with limited time. They can extend your fundraising reach, helping you to get the word out about the importance of your association’s mission and drive donations to support your organization’s work.
Here are five tips for working with advocates to increase donations for your association:
1. Identify your association’s advocates.
When it comes down to it, an advocate can be anyone who is highly engaged with your organization. A good place to start searching for advocates is your membership base. Look for highly engaged members. It’s a bonus if they’re also well-known and respected in your industry. Some examples of potential advocates might be:
- Long-time members who are also actively involved in association committees, your board of directors, or in other volunteer roles with your organization
- Members who have presented popular sessions at your association’s events
- Members who are highly engaged in your online member community
2. Ask them to help.
Reach out to each advocate individually and ask them to help your organization raise funds. Be clear about what you would like for them to do, such as:
- Share information about a specific fundraising campaign or event on their social media accounts
- Contact their friends, family, and colleagues and invite them to support your organization with a donation
- Encourage other members to donate by posting about your fundraising campaign or event in your online member community and helping to spread the word at chapter meetings and other member events
3. Set them up for success.
Give your advocates the tools and inspiration they need to succeed as volunteer fundraisers for your association. For example:
- Set up a regular briefing (in-person or virtual) with your advocates to give them details about your upcoming fundraising campaigns and events
- Provide them with (or remind them of) key messaging about your association’s mission and why your organization needs funds to achieve it
- Remind them of the fundraising activities you would like them to perform
- Make sure they have a way to contact you with questions
4. Ask for feedback.
As advocates begin working with you to increase fundraising for your association, be sure to check in with them and ask for feedback. Ask about what’s working and what’s not. Ask if they need any information or tools that would help them to be more successful.
As you get input from your advocates, share the feedback with the other advocates at your next advocate briefing and ask for additional thoughts about each idea. Then, make adjustments to your program.
5. Say thank you.
Your advocates are volunteering their time to raise funds for your organization. So, be sure to thank them often.
Start and end each of your advocate briefings by thanking them for their time and efforts. Consider hosting a special gathering for them at your next in-person event. And be sure to thank them publicly at your member events, through your social media channels, in your online member community, and in other ways just as you thank other volunteers for helping your organization to succeed.