An "ambassador fundraising campaign" is a type of peer-to-peer fundraising that taps your most connected supporters and turns them into active fundraisers for your cause. With their vast personal network and familiarity with your mission, ambassadors are well-positioned to reenergize any campaign and grow your nonprofit’s supporter base.
Use these essential tips to recruit fundraising ambassadors and prepare them for success:
- Look for well-connected supporters or corporate partners.
- Create concrete goals and expectations for your ambassadors.
- Develop training materials.
Whether you’re running an in-person auction or online fundraising campaign, ambassador fundraising can elevate your mission and drive amazing fundraising results. Let’s begin.
1. Look for well-connected supporters or corporate partners
The ideal fundraising ambassadors are highly visible supporters with influence in your community. With their large networks, ambassadors are able to introduce brand new audiences to your cause and recruit them to support your mission. So how do you find the right ambassadors?
According to the OneCause guide to peer-to-peer fundraising, there are several sources you can look towards to recruit ambassadors. The first step is to choose the right supporters. Look for outgoing and influential individuals among your:
- Board. Board members are very familiar with the inner workings of your organization. So leverage their passion, knowledge of your mission, and personal and professional connections to maximize support for your fundraising campaign.
- Loyal donors. Look for donors with a sustained giving history, or those who have increased their giving in the last 12 months, indicating deeper engagement with your cause.
- Volunteers. Volunteers are another source to mobilize loyal supporters and turn them into active ambassadors. Conduct outreach to your most active and connected volunteers to become ambassadors, as these individuals will already be used to committing time towards fueling your nonprofit’s efforts.
- Sponsor connections. If your organization has corporate sponsors, ask these business owners if they’d want to join in on your ambassador campaign or if they want to participate in a company-wide or team competition.
- Event committee. The staff or volunteers working on your fundraising event already have a vested interest in its outcome, so ask if they have spare time to dedicate towards spearheading their own personal outreach campaign.
Your nonprofit can also work with local nonprofit influencers who have a passion for philanthropy and interest in your cause. Even if these influencers haven’t worked with your organization before, their social connections and high digital visibility can be exactly what you needs to get in front of new audiences.
2. Create concrete goals and expectations for your ambassadors
Once you’ve identified great ambassador candidates, you’ll need a concrete understanding of what you’ll be asking them to do. Are they simply powering donations before your big event, or will they also be responsible for boosting registrations or ticket sales, too? How long do they have to create momentum for your fundraiser?
To set your ambassador fundraising campaign up for success, consider the following factors:
- Type of ambassador campaign, such as a nonprofit awareness campaign, competitive fundraising activity, or social media campaign
- Timeline of the fundraising campaign
- Specific goals for how much ambassadors will fundraise, how many event tickets they’ll sell, or other measurable objectives relevant to their role
- How you’ll recognize and motivate ambassadors throughout the event
This will give your organization and its ambassadors a solid understanding of what your campaign will look like. As you reach out to candidates, give a detailed explanation of the responsibilities and expectations for your campaign so you’re attracting the right people to the role.
A great way to incentivize ambassadors to keep up their peer-to-peer fundraising efforts is through creating challenges. For example, you can honor the ambassador who raises the most money with a special prize awarded during your next event.
As your fundraising campaign begins, remember to actively express appreciation for your ambassadors so they feel valued by your organization and eager to support future events or campaigns. According to Fundraising Letters, you can show gratitude to your ambassador volunteers by writing heartfelt letters that demonstrate the impact of their contributions.
3. Develop training materials
Once you’ve gathered a powerful ensemble of well-connected supporters, you’ll need to give them the tools and skills they need to drive revenue and engagement. This is especially important if it’s your ambassadors’ first time taking charge of fundraising.
To get your ambassadors ready, have the following training tools and opportunities in place:
- Training sessions. In-person or virtual meetings can be incredibly valuable as it gives ambassadors an opportunity to hear from your staff directly. In these training sessions, walk ambassadors through peer-to-peer fundraising strategies, technical instructions on how to launch their fundraising campaign, and an overview on your mission and the purpose of your fundraising event so ambassadors can accurately represent your cause.
- Educational resources. Create an educational handbook or packets that provide additional details on ambassador fundraising and how to optimize their campaigns for success. You can develop a dedicated resource library on your website so ambassadors can access this information at any time throughout their campaign.
- Regular check-ins. As you progress through the ambassador campaign, it’s likely that your ambassadors will have some questions or need advice to raise their fundraising numbers. Consider offering weekly check-in calls so ambassadors feel supported and can clear up any roadblocks they might encounter.
Your ambassadors may have busy schedules, so offer asynchronous training opportunities so they can engage with your learning materials when it’s most convenient for them. You can also record your meetings and store them in your resources library to be accessed at any time.
A successful ambassador campaign boils down to the fundraising efforts of your ambassadors, so take ample time to recruit and train your well-connected supporters. But your work does not end after the fundraising event ends! Share success, thank ambassadors for their efforts, and continue to engage with them so you have their support during your next ambassador campaign.