13 Ways to Empower Your Grassroots Fundraisers

Speedometer - Fired Up!
07.13.2011By

When someone decides to raise money for your nonprofit with a fundraising page, they are way beyond a first kiss – they are taking you down the aisle. Their commitment must be matched by your organization in the form of encouragement.

Below are 13 ways to encourage and empower your partners:

1. Understand what motivates them

Your supporters only care about statistics when they want to validate why they support your cause. But stats won’t move them to fight for a cause with all their heart. Stories about how your organization makes a difference in people’s lives will. Make sure your supporters know these stories.

Do this: Make a list of all the reasons why your nonprofit shouldn’t be voted off the island. Now cross off every reason that includes a statistic. Then make sure you have a story to illustrate each of the others.

2. Encourage them to tell THEIR stories

Pushing the “client success” stories on them won’t work if they’re not sharing their personal story as well. Make it known that their personal reason for fundraising is the best story for their campaign. Create an environment where supporters feel respected and safe when they share their stories.

3. Get them started

In a long journey, the first step is both the most important, and the most difficult. You can help them by telling them what their first steps should be. For example, once they’ve created a fundraising page, have them email their friends and post the page on their Facebook Page.

4. Help them continue

For some people, the first step can be exciting. But after a week, they aren’t so motivated. This is when you have to keep connecting with them with peers, and encouraging them. Try and provide regular tips and stories throughout the campaign, not just at the beginning.

5. Promote team building

The Great American Bakesale owes a lot of it’s success to encouraging supporters to create teams. It spreads out the workload, and also creates more accountability.

6. Give public praise

People generally like to be recognized and praised in public. Sure, they may be embarrassed, but they’ll also feel proud. And the last time I checked, feeling proud was way better than not being embarrassed.

7. Respond quickly

If your fundraisers are like you, they want answers quickly. Whenever your fundraisers have questions, it shows they’re still interested. If you get them answers quickly, they’ll be more likely to stay interested.

8. Treat your favorites like gold

Exercise the wisdom to show your fundraising stars how important they are. Send them an unexpected gift or take them out for coffee. Expressing your commitment to this group will pay off in the long run.

9. Provide a fundraising platform

There are many peer-to-peer fundraising solutions on the market, all with great reporting capabilities, social features, and other widgets. The really good ones make fundraising easy in three ways:

  • Easy to set up – Of the millions of people who say they want to raise money for a cause, very few actually follow through. And even less do when they hit unnecessary barriers. The harder it is to upload an image, add text, and set fundraising goals, less likely they’ll launch a page.
  • Easy to share – It should be obvious how users can share their donations, achievements with their friends.
  • Easy to know when they should celebrate – Finally, in the interest of recognition, it should be stupidly obvious when a fundraiser hits their goal.

10. Make a home base

You need a homebase for your fundraisers where they can find remarkable stories to share, resources to help get the most from their efforts to raise money, and connections with like-minded people (preferably in their city).

This might sound like a lot of work, but it will save you many emails and phone calls in the long run.

11. Hold a class

An easy way to educate and encourage your fundraisers is to hold regular webinars. These should be less than an hour and conducted at a convenient time. Start each webinar by praising and thanking them, which will embolden their sense of mission. Follow that with some “how to” and Q&A.

12. Don’t focus on money

It sucks for everyone when organizations focus on money as an outcome. It’s better to focus on showing appreciation and love, and sharing good stories.

13. Report back

No one wants to feel like they’ve wasted their time. Regularly report back to your fundraising what their donations have done. Tell them how their personal effort helped change the world. This is probably one of the biggest factors that makes people fundraise year after year.

What would you add?