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by Charity Dynamics

Imagine it—a team of dedicated volunteers helping you promote your next fundraising campaign, peer-to-peer event or big mission impact achievement, and you didn’t have to go through your HR department to get them on board.

That’s just crazy talk…or is it?

I’m talking about Social Ambassadors. A Social Ambassadors program is a great way to grow your online fundraising program, and starting one should be at the top of your to-do list.

At its core, a Social Ambassadors program brings together the people who are ready and willing to raise their hands and agree to help your organization by lending their voices and sharing content online. You can make the program as simple or as robust as you’d like.

Positioned as an extension of the fundraising team, Social Ambassadors are given quick and easy actions that allow them to serve as voices for your organization and amplify your reach.

But is now the right time?

I know you may be thinking, is now really the time for this? And my answer  is yes.

Because right now: People are at home, people are online and people want to help.

And that is the perfect environment for Social Ambassadors to shine.

Many of your supporters (and potential supporters) are sheltering-in-place and have the desire to connect with others and help in any way possible to get us to the other side of this unprecedented time. If you’re anything like me, you’re on social media a lot more frequently—keeping up with friends and staying up to date on news and ways to lend a hand.

A Social Ambassadors group can be positioned as an online volunteer opportunity. You may have physical volunteer restrictions right now, and this group provides a great way for volunteers, or other dedicated groups of supporters, to still help from home.

And as we move past COVID-19, the online space will continue to be more important than ever. A spotlight has been put on digital technologies and their power to connect people and keep things moving forward. Virtual options for meetings, events, conversations, fundraising and even volunteering will be more tightly integrated into all activities as we emerge from an unprecedented time into an uncertain one.

Still not convinced? Here are 3 reasons why this program works.

1. The power of word of mouth marketing

People are influenced by their peers. When other individuals praise your organization, it’s more credible than when you praise yourself. It’s the psychological principle of social proof—the observation that people tend to look to what others do before making their own decisions.

There is social proof from celebrities and influencers (which may define some of your Social Ambassadors), but social proof from friends can be equally influential. We trust information that’s shared by people we know and will likely share it further if asked.

This is word of mouth marketing—when your supporters talk about and promote your organization. Research on its effectiveness continues to support Nielsen’s study that found that 92% of customers trust word of mouth recommendations from family and friends, above all other forms of advertising.

The primary ask of a Social Ambassador will be to share your content online. Each time they do, they become a voice for your organization, which is important when 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a critical influence in their purchasing decisions.

2. A cost-effective way to acquire new supporters

Outside of the human capital required to start and maintain your Social Ambassadors program, it’s completely free.

While online advertising continues to be an important component of an effective fundraising strategy, there’s a cost associated with it. And more and more internet users (up to 47%) are choosing to block traditional ads.

But what people are not blocking and paying more and more attention to is user-generated content. Videos from their favorite social media celebrities, posts from influencers on a niche topic and recommendations from family and friends. Advertising power is shifting to real people.

Think about what you yourself would pay more attention to—a post from a friend stating why they just donated to a local organization, why they support the group and asking you to do the same or a paid ad promoting an organization and asking you to give?

Fundraising budgets can tighten, people’s discretionary income can shift and individuals can become too busy to engage with your organization in more time-intensive ways. When this happens, it’s important to have programs in place, like Social Ambassadors, that are cost-effective and provide an easy way for constituents to stay involved and make an impact.

3. A new opted-in and dedicated group of supporters

Remember, this is an opt-in group. If you reach out to your existing constituents and they sign up, you know they have affinity for your organization. They raised their hand, so they’re interested in helping. And now they’ve made a commitment. They’re part of the team, so there’s ownership there. Will everyone who signs up do what you ask them to do? No. But many will each time you ask, and some will every time.

Each time someone shares your message, it casts a wider net for your mission.

And if you’re looking for a new opportunity for certain constituent groups to take that next step in their relationship with your organization, this can be a great option.

Do you have a yearly peer-to-peer event and are you looking for a way to more deeply connect participants with your organization? Or would you like to offer your Facebook Fundraisers a way to get involved when you reach out to say thanks? Social Ambassadors can meet that need.

All to say, a Social Ambassadors program can be a cost-effective and impactful way to increase your reach and grow online revenue for your organization. Interested in starting a Social Ambassadors program? 

Learn more about how Charity Dynamics can help create a social ambassador program for your organization