Nonprofits: Do You Have an Ambassador Program? Here's How:
Do you have fans? Are they loyal donors, clients, partners? Are you using them as your ambassadors? Are they part of your Friendraising Team?
One of the new “golden rules” of nonprofits is to utilize your fans as champions in telling your brand story. We have all heard about the value of testimonials, but rarely do we go beyond asking our fans if we can quote them in a collateral piece or use their statement on our website.
What I am talking about is a formal and well-thought-out program --- that proactively harnesses their goodwill towards your organization – turning those individuals who have experience with your nonprofit into evangelists to augment your fundraisingor promotional efforts
So how do you find these ambassadors? Well the reality is that they rarely come to you unless you ask. And it isn’t that hard to identify them. Here are five ways to do that:
1. Check your Facebook page and see who gave you a good review or made a positive comment.
2. Ask you reception team to create a field on their intake form to mark if there is a positive comment. Don’t forget to script the staff to ask if someone from the company can call them back, when they have given a positive comment.
3. If you do customer surveys, include space at the end where people can give you contact information, and follow-up with a phone call.
4. If you do community outreach or staff tables at conferences, community events, then keep a sign-up sheet at the table. Note if they are a current client, donor or partner. If they say something positive, ask for their name.
5. If you have a client e-newsletter, ask readers to share what they like about your company, and then follow-up with them.
Great, so you now have a list of some customers who really like you. What do you do next with these folks? The most important thing is to make them feel valued and appreciated. Often people feel honored and validated when you ask them to help you out. Deep down many people want to feel needed. So ask them to help you SPREAD THE WORD! As communities become more multicultural, some of best ways to market is through word-of-mouth.
Many cultures, including the Latino and south Asian cultures, often make buying decisions based on a referral from someone they know. So if you have fan that likes you, that trusts you and your services, they can help pass that trust on to their friends and family. Fundraising is done through them!
Ideas to Create a Formal Ambassador Program:
· Create a brief ”job description” for your ambassadors, so they know what they can expect.
· Send a formal letter of invitation, signed by one of leadership team members, asking them to be a part of your Ambassador program.
· Provide them with collateral materials, information, and ”talking points” about the organization.
· Determine if there is a way to acknowledge their efforts – perhaps a social event with food and beverages. Or perhaps give them a small certificate of recognition.
· Highlight them in your e- newsletter.
· Give them branded business cards, or a pin with the organization’s logo and their name for when they are out in the community.
· Give them permission to email you with ideas or comments about how to improve things.
· And MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL…. Ask them how they want to be an ambassador – they may create a vision of an ambassador that is totally different from yours. The key is to listen and let them spread the word in a manner that works best for them.
The new world of nonprofit promotion and branding is all about sharing and social engagement. An Ambassador Program puts your nonprofit squarely in alignment with this new paradigm.