4 Tips to Turn Volunteers into Digital Ambassadors
When it comes to marketing campaigns, peer-to-peer marketing still rises above as one of the most powerful ways to spread the word about your nonprofit. In fact, 93% of people trust brand recommendations from family and friends. This is more than the trust individuals have in sources like reviews, news and information websites, and company sites.
Your organization’s volunteers can be a valuable untapped resource for peer-to-peer marketing campaigns. You can provide highly engaged or long-time volunteers with opportunities to get more involved by empowering them to become digital ambassadors for your cause and promote your mission to their families and friends.
In this guide, we’ll cover four ways to transform volunteers into digital ambassadors who can help your digital fundraising and marketing efforts succeed:
- Set guidelines for your digital ambassador program
- Recruit volunteers for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns
- Interact with your volunteers’ content
- Show your appreciation
Some of your volunteers may be passionate, but not as digitally savvy — and that’s ok! These tips will make it easy for even your digitally-cautious volunteers to advocate for your mission online.
1. Set guidelines for your digital ambassador program
Your digital ambassador initiative should support your nonprofit’s wider digital marketing and social media goals. With an intentional planning process, you can ensure that your ambassador program helps your organization see a higher return on its marketing investment.
Develop an effective digital ambassador program by taking the following steps:
- Set criteria for choosing digital ambassadors. Use your volunteer management software to identify passionate long-time volunteers or volunteers who are highly engaged in your program. These volunteers should have some sort of online presence, whether a personal blog or social media account. Carefully vet volunteers’ profiles or sites to ensure their content is appropriate for your nonprofit’s online audience.
- Provide guidelines for promoting your organization. Let volunteers know what is appropriate and inappropriate to post on behalf of your organization. Also, highlight specific messages or taglines your organization is pushing. For example, if you’re promoting an upcoming text-to-give campaign, you might ask volunteers to use the tagline “Mobilize change on your mobile device!” It can also be helpful to provide recommendations for how often to share social media content and the best time to post to help your volunteers receive higher engagement.
- Equip volunteers with marketing collateral. Provide volunteers with marketing materials they can use when talking about your organization online. Share videos or image packs with infographics and high-quality photos. Also, provide them with informational resources, such as statistics about your organization and links to your most important landing pages.
With clear guidelines, volunteers will feel more comfortable becoming social media influencers or brand ambassadors for your organization. The simpler you make your digital ambassador position, the more volunteers you’ll be able to recruit for this role.
2. Recruit volunteers for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns
Volunteers can take an even more active role in your online community by becoming peer-to-peer fundraisers. In peer-to-peer campaigns, participants create personalized fundraising pages and share them with their family members and friends.
Streamline your peer-to-peer recruitment process and get more volunteers on board with these tips:
- Identify the right volunteers to get involved. Past peer-to-peer fundraisers and volunteers who also donate are a great place to start because they have experience with your fundraising process. You might also ask long-time volunteers who haven’t yet participated in fundraising but who are looking for ways to get more deeply involved.
- Create a peer-to-peer fundraising guide. Develop a guide for your peer-to-peer volunteers to reference throughout the campaign. This guide may include best practices for creating social media posts about the campaign or tips for adding volunteers’ personal connection to your cause to their online donation pages.
- Motivate volunteers throughout the campaign. Remind volunteers to keep sharing their fundraising pages and congratulate the volunteers who reach their goals.
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns will not only help your nonprofit raise more funds but also introduce your mission to a new audience. Volunteers may be able to successfully recruit some of their family members or friends to become recurring supporters, not just one-time donors.
3. Interact with your volunteers’ content
Building a strong digital presence for your nonprofit doesn’t just involve creating social media posts. You should also devote time to interacting with your online community, including your digital ambassadors’ content.
Engaging with your volunteers online from your nonprofit’s main account can make your organization seem more friendly and approachable. To develop a more casual, community-focused online presence, you can:
- Comment on and share volunteers’ posts. Comment on volunteers’ Instagram posts or Facebook updates and share their posts about their peer-to-peer fundraising pages or awareness messages. Show them that you notice and appreciate the work they’ve put into promoting your organization to a wider audience.
- Make your digital content easy to share. Make sure to turn post sharing on for your Facebook posts. Tag volunteers in your Facebook posts and Instagram updates so they can easily find and share relevant posts and photos they’re included in with their personal networks.
- Spotlight digital ambassadors using your email newsletter or posts from your organization’s main account. Use a section in your nonprofit’s regular newsletter to give a shout-out to your digital ambassadors. Link to a blog post on your website with more information about the program and the volunteers who are involved. You can also share this post across your social media pages to spread awareness of the program.
Volunteers will appreciate being recognized publicly by your nonprofit, giving them greater satisfaction in their digital ambassador roles. Plus, when other audience members see how engaging and fulfilling your digital ambassador program is, they might feel motivated to get involved.
4. Show your appreciation
A simple “thank you” can greatly improve your digital ambassador program’s retention rate. When volunteers feel appreciated for their work, they’ll be more likely to stay involved and continue to promote your organization widely within their social networks.
- Offer incentives to get involved with your program. Incentivize volunteers to get involved by offering fun perks, such as free merchandise or early access to your nonprofit’s upcoming volunteer opportunities or events. You can also offer digital marketing training, complete with a certificate that volunteers can share on their resumes or LinkedIn pages.
- Send genuine and frequent appreciation messages. Write personalized thank-you notes for digital ambassadors to express your gratitude. Reference each volunteer’s specific contributions, such as posts they created that were highly effective for driving donations or a successful peer-to-peer campaign they just wrapped up.
- Consider offering appreciation gifts. Send volunteers a token of appreciation, such as a branded t-shirt, a gift card to a local business or restaurant, a potted plant, or a ticket to a local event.
Your digital ambassadors can drive a lot of new interest in your nonprofit’s work. By showing appreciation for their efforts, you make it clear to volunteers that they play a central role in pushing your organization’s mission forward.
For your volunteers who are looking to go above and beyond, a digital ambassador program can be the perfect outlet to turn their passion into action. Don’t take these volunteers for granted — show them that their work is essential to getting the word out about your mission and growing your online presence. Digital marketing and fundraising are the future of nonprofit work, so a strong digital ambassador program can help you better adapt to the modern era.