Dos & Don’ts for Recruiting Influencers for Your Nonprofit
In today’s online world, self-made influencers have become bonafide celebrities. These individuals, couples, and even families have an incredible online reach that your nonprofit can tap into to help further your cause and promote your upcoming events.
If your nonprofit already employs ambassador marketing to promote your events, this approach simply takes it to the next level by recruiting well-known figures to promote and attend your fundraising events. If you think scoring a household name for your event is out of reach or your budget, don’t fret—there are many nonprofit influencers that have a loyal follower base that may be a good option to advocate for your mission and event.
If you’re not sure where to start in recruiting influencers to support your cause, these dos and don’ts will help point you in the right direction.
Do: Seek Alignment Beyond Numbers
It’s important for your nonprofit to look beyond follower count when considering the influencer or personality to target for your fundraising event. Sure, an influencer with 10 million followers would be great, but they may not be the best fit for your organization and event. Look for those that are aligned with your mission, values, and the type of event you’re holding.
For example, if your nonprofit is focused on education and you’re holding a charity golf tournament, finding a personality that is passionate about education or golf (or both) would be a good fit. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the influencer doesn’t represent or outwardly endorse a competitor of a major sponsor or donor to your event. Continuing with the golf tournament example, perhaps you’re auctioning off a luxury stay-and-play luxury golf package that was donated by a charitable partner. You’d want to be sure your influencer doesn’t work for or represent a rival golf club or resort or disparage the partner in their content in any way.
Don’t: Make it All About Promotion
Above all else, any partnership that your nonprofit enters with an influencer should be about advancing your mission and cause for the greater good. Though promoting your event is certainly important, it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your collaboration with the influencer. Find ways to establish genuine connections with them for the good of your nonprofit and the populations you serve.
There are a variety of ways to forge a relationship with the influence you’ve chosen to partner with, including:
- Allowing them to share their story with your nonprofit or mission. If they have a personal connection to the work you do or cause you’re working toward, they can share this on their social media channels and at your fundraising event.
- Encouraging them to interact with your nonprofit’s beneficiaries and/or event attendees. You could arrange a meet and greet before, during, or after your event or invite them to participate in a volunteer event so they better understand the work you do firsthand.
- Having conversations with them to better understand their motivations for getting involved with your organization or event and how they feel they could best be of service.
At the end of the day, working with an influencer or personality is about building an authentic partnership that’s based on a mutual dedication to your mission.
Do: Create Personalized Pitches
When determining how to engage specific influencers, it’s a good idea to create a custom pitch for each individual you will reach out to. The goal is to appeal to their individual interests and lay out how a partnership will be mutually beneficial. Do your research into each potential influencer to find out the types of organizations they have worked with in the past. Simply scroll through their social media accounts and visit their website, if they have one, to garner this information.
As you create your pitch, think through how to best frame the following perks to entice them to enter into a partnership:
- Promotion for their products or services to your audience
- A featured blog post or presence on your nonprofit’s website
- Access to the event’s attendee list and contact information for their own marketing purposes
- Curated event experiences tailored to the influencer’s niche, such as an educational panel for a professor or the chance to perform during a benefit concert for a musician
- Monetary compensation for their time and travel
- Networking opportunities for the influencer and event sponsors, attendees, and partners
- Social media shoutouts
- Dedicated email campaigns promoting the partnership
Don’t: Overlook Micro-Influencers
While traditional influencers may have millions of followers, micro-influencers can be just as powerful for nonprofits. Micro influencers have a small, yet extremely dedicated, community that can drive engaged supporters for your organization and events. You might also work with multiple micro-influencers to help garner an audience for an upcoming event or initiative.
Look for micro-influencers that operate in a similar niche to your nonprofit and have the potential to drive support for your cause. These might be people in your geographic area, other nonprofit professionals who you already have a relationship with, people who are related in some way to your event, or are committed to your mission. Double the Donation suggests working with the micro-influencer to leverage their digital marketing channels to drive as many of their followers to your event as possible.
Do: Thank & Engage Influencers
To maintain your nonprofit’s partnership with an influencer, it’s important to first, hold up your end of the bargain in terms of promised perks or benefits, and second, stay engaged with them so they’re more likely to continue their involvement. Consider sending handwritten or even video messages to your influencer collaborators to thank them for their time and advocacy. These could be from your staff, board, or even organizational beneficiaries to help drive home what the influencer’s support is helping to do. Keep in regular contact with them over time, scheduling casual in-person or video chats to maintain a close working relationship.
Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of getting a well-known influencer involved with your organization or to help promote or attend an event. It starts with doing your research, creating a custom pitch, and ultimately, reaching out to them. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away; start your outreach early and be persistent (without being pushy or aggressive). Have a plan in place to activate the partnership when they say yes, and be sure to do your part to make it a win-win partnership.