You can expand your association’s reach and create stronger connections in your industry with the help from volunteer ambassadors.
Read on for affordable ways to provide people with incentives to become cheerleaders for your organization.
By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Director, Community Brands
Building a strong ambassador program can help expand your association’s reach. Ambassadors are a type of cheerleader for your organization. They’re volunteers who can help you do everything from recruiting new members and improving member retention to advocating for your industry.
Your association’s ambassadors will likely want to work for your organization because they believe in your organization’s mission. But keep in mind that volunteering takes time, and it can help to offer them incentives to participate and to continue their work long term.
The good news: Providing incentives to ambassadors doesn’t have to cost a lot.
Here are five low-cost ways to provide ambassadors with incentives to help your organization:
1. Offer complimentary event registration.
Your association’s events offer big value – networking, learning opportunities, chances to connect with industry experts. The list of benefits goes on.
And while it does cost your organization something for a person to attend one of your events, many of the costs are already spent. So, why not offer free event registration to a few key volunteer ambassadors – as either an incentive to become an ambassador or as a thank you for their continued service?
2. Give some social media shout outs.
Your volunteer ambassadors are influencers in your industry. That’s what makes them good ambassadors for your organization. So, take time to thank them through your social media channels as they help to promote your organization. It’s a great way to expand their exposure in your industry while giving them a genuine expression of gratitude for their work.
3. Provide logo placement and website link.
Your ambassadors have their own companies to promote. As an incentive and thank you for becoming an ambassador, offer to publicize their company logo and link to their website. You can place these items in multiple locations, including:
- Your website
- Your online member community
- Websites for select events
- Your member email newsletter
4. Build an ambassador landing page.
Create a landing page that you can direct ambassadors to as part of your recruiting process. Of course, the page should cover the basics about becoming an ambassador, including responsibilities, qualifications, training provided, and time commitment needed. But it should also highlight the benefits of becoming an ambassador.
List any of the incentives that you provide (such as those listed in this article). You might also focus on some of the intangible benefits they will receive by becoming an ambassador, including:
- Helping the industry and/or profession
- Learning new skills
- Meeting new people
- Having fun
Also, consider including a testimonial quote or two from others about their experience as an ambassador for your association.
To motivate ambassadors to stick around, be sure to offer an ongoing communication loop. For example:
- Listen to them. Regularly ask them for feedback so that you know you are meeting their expectations. Let them know when you’ve made changes based on their ideas so that they know you are taking their thoughts seriously.
- Provide feedback. Give them feedback through an evaluation, which can be done via phone, video chat, or in person. Let them know how their work is fitting into the association’s bigger picture and offer them an assessment of their performance. This is a good time to give them suggestions as well.
- Thank them. Even though you might be giving them social media shout outs and providing them with other incentives to volunteer, be sure to say thank you. Taking the time to let your ambassadors know you truly value their work will go a long way toward helping them feel appreciated and making them want to continue their efforts.
Discover more ideas and tips for setting up a great ambassador program for your association. Read the guide, How to Build a Successful Ambassador Program for Your Small Association.