Friend-to-friend fundraising works- so why aren't you doing it?
I’m a pretty passionate advocate of nonprofits trying Friend-to-Friend or Social Fundraising techniques for their organizations. Having come out of the health fundraising world, I’ve seen the power of having supporters fundraising on your behalf. Mobilizing an army of passionate advocates for your organization can tap into thousands of dollars in unseen funds and link your organization to hundreds--if not thousands--of new supporters.
So why does this technique seem to be the domain of heath organizations alone?
Is it the fear of the work of putting on a massive event like a Walk-a-thon or Dance-off? With the entry into the online marketplace of social fundraising tools like FirstGiving, Causes, Razoo and Blackbaud’s Friends Asking Friends, you don’t even need to associate your campaign with the a-thon event to see major success. So that’s not an excuse.
Is it lack of confidence in your supporters? Do you think it would be a lot of effort for little excitement? I promise you, if Idealware can do a Friend-to-Friend Campaign, so can your organization. Really--do you think your cause is less sexy than helping other nonprofits improve their technology capacity?
Is it lack of knowledge about how to motivate your supporters? Remember, this is a fundraising technique. I know you all tell your boards “you can all raise money for our organization,” so why are your most fervent supporters less qualified or less motivated? In fact, throwing in a little bit of fun--like contests for the person or team who raises the most money or contacts the most people, raffles for anyone fundraising, a kick-off party for training, or an e-mail leader board--can go a long way. If I can make this fun, so can you.
We used to offer a seminar on “Getting Started with Distributed Fundraising,” but no one ever took the class. Thinking it was due to a terrible name, we changed the title and tried again. Enter “Turning Your Supporters Into Fundraisers,” but still no takers. Feeling very strongly that nonprofits should know about this approach, we decided to offer the session for free, and it had the lowest registration rate for any of the 11 free seminars we've offered in 2011.
So what is going on? Why don’t you care? Because honestly, you should. This method works. I promise.