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Thinking outside the box: Finding new ways for your supporters to help

  • December 3, 2020
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The year 2020 has been one of the most challenging in recent memory for many. From a personal standpoint, we’ve all seen our daily lives change in some way or another. From a business perspective, many organizations are making tough decisions to keep their operations afloat. As a nonprofit organization, you are most likely running into your own set of unique challenges during this difficult year. This unpredictable year is causing people to run into financial hardships. The question that we want to address in this blog is this: how can we entice our most loyal supporters to help us in ways that do not involve financial support?

Join the marketing team

As we mentioned in the introduction, this is a tough year where many of your loyal funders and donors simply don’t have the financial means to support your organization like they did in the past. One of the best ways to allow your supporters to help is by asking them to join your marketing team and become your ambassador!

So what does this mean? Rather than skip a year, keep your organization at the forefront of their mind by asking them to participate without “paying to play” this year. The idea is to encourage your supporters to spread the word about your organization across the different platforms. There is a major silver lining to having everyone “going virtual”- capitalize on the six degrees of separation social media offers. First and foremost, provide your supporters with some direction on how to do this. By giving them some ideas and a structure for how they can help, you will certainly see some great results and individual sponsors will still be doing something philanthropic to support the good, especially during these challenging times! It is an outreach win for your organization and a PR win for sponsors. We discussed how one organization turned this idea of ambassadorship into a full on fundraising competition in a previous blog.

Utilize the “pay it forward” concept

Let’s talk about some of how you can provide your supporters with structure to allow them to help market your nonprofit’s efforts. One great example of this is with the “pay it forward” concept. Here’s an example of how this works:

The sponsor would share a message on social media or through email. The message would look something like this:

For Sponsors: “As many of you may remember, the XYZ Corporation was honored last year to support the ABC organization to help (insert mission). This year, we recognize support for this wonderful organization is needed now more than ever and ask you to follow our lead! Show your support of their work to help (women, children, animals etc.) by forwarding this (auction link/email/information) to at least ten of your good friends and help spread the good work of the ABC Organization. Let’s make a true impact for (ex: women being diagnosed as we speak), during this unprecedented time.”

Individuals could share a story about the personal impact the organization has made in their life. The message would look something like this:

As many of you may remember, the ABC organization helped me and my family through my battle with cancer. I want them to be able to help other women like me. If you could please forward this (auction link/email/information) to at least ten of your good friends, we will be able to make an impact for the women being diagnosed as we speak, during this especially challenging time.”

This example above demonstrates the incredible impact the organization had on one person, illustrated through the power of storytelling. Tailor your message with this kind of personal touch. This approach is a sure-fire way to help you gain more supporters to help your worthy cause.

Word of mouth is tried-and-true

Some of our older audience might remember the old 70’s shampoo commercial.

“I told two friends and so on and so on…” This is a funny little reminder that this word-of-mouth method has been and continues to be an effective marketing tactic!

Social media usage is through the roof

It’s no surprise that social media usage is at an all-time high. With so many people staying home more often, social media has been the best way to stay connected with friends and family. With that said, have your followers utilize social media to share their stories and messages like we mentioned above with the “pay it forward” example. Emails, texts, and phone calls can work as well; however, social media should be your go-to method for now.

Simply ask your supporters to connect, like, and share your page with everyone they know. People understand that nonprofit organizations need the help more than ever; so let them help you turn your audience from 300 to 30,000!

If your organization finds itself struggling to come up with creative ideas to expand your exposure and raise additional funds for your cause, contact us today. We have plenty of tried-and-true methods that are sure to help your organization during these tough times. Stay safe everyone!

This article was written by the fundraising experts at the American Fundraising Foundation (AmFund). Each year, AmFund carefully chooses organizations to support through sponsorship of events, year-end grant distribution of financial support, virtual silent auctions, and other programs to raise much-needed unrestricted funds for the important mission of those organizations. AmFund is recognized with the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency and since 1999 has donated more than $36 million for worthy causes.

This post was originally published on the AmFund blog.


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