(Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
“How to Give” is a monthly column by local philanthropy wizard Lansie Sylvia. In it, Lansie answers readers’ questions about millennials, philanthropy and engaging the next generation of givers. To ask her a question, tweet @FancyLansie.
THIS MONTH’S QUESTION:
This is my third year on a six-person team that runs a marathon for charity. We’ve done fine so far raising money from our friends and colleagues but I want to step it up this year. Any tips?
Kudos to you for taking the lead on making this your Best Year Ever™. Happy to help!
(Psst, also check out this previous column of mine on how to get the most out of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.)
Hold an info session/kickoff party.
Most people announce the fact that they’re running a race within the same Facebook post that they make their first ask. Trust me, a Facebook post doesn’t give anyone enough space to adequately explain their commitment to a cause while also keeping the post pithy enough to engage readers. Why not combine your IRL charisma with some easy, online giving?
Host a kickoff party at your house/your team member’s house/a quiet-ish bar so that you can make an impassioned speech, tell a moving story or just generally communicate why this cause and this race are important to you.
Have multiple iPads/smartphones pre-loaded to your team’s fundraising page and make asks all night long while answering any questions anyone might have. You’ll boost your fundraising and forge real-world connections with donors, new and old, that can support you for years to come.
… for fundraising! It’s likely that the organization you’re running for and/or the fundraising software it is using will have online trainings and webinars available to help you take full advantage of the online tools available to you and your team.
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Grab a six-pack and invite your team over for some fundraising training. Learning together will ensure you’re all equipped to raise more money, plus each person can share individual strengths and talents to boost the success of the entire team.
Be more social on social media.
Sharing content about your race and the fundraising opportunities is your first step, and I’m sure you’re already a content-posting expert three years in: Make it personal, keep it simple, always include a picture, etc. Here are a few tips to up your “social love” game:
- Always say thank you when someone shares your content — if possible, send a text and/or thank the person on Twitter and Instagram in addition to thanking them on Facebook.
- When someone mentions you in a post, respond back the same day with a thoughtful, personalized comment.
- Each week, post thank you videos that mention all of your donors and tag them in the post.
- If you’ve got a very active following, periodically host live chats to answer donor questions and update them on the team’s progress.
Engage influencers to spread your message.
Odds are that one (or more!) of you six is connected to some micro-influencers on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The major brands know that influencer-marketing is the fastest growing form of marketing, so steal a page from the big boys’ playbooks and find some social media ambassadors that are excited about donating their influence and engaging their networks to support your cause.
When possible, it’s best to co-create the communication strategy with each influencer. Come to the table with some ideas and hear them out to learn what works best. Odds are they have already worked with for-profit campaigns, so they’ll have some great ideas! Be an active partner and learn about their brand guidelines and goals in order to align your campaign to help them while they’re helping you. You should aim to build an ongoing relationship that evolves over time.
Influencers can drive user-generated content as well, which is a great way to engage more potential donors. Ask followers to share their own stories and images that relate to your cause, and share them with wider audience (with permission, of course!).
Finally, I always like to provide some content when working with influencers, but it’s important to give them creative freedom. They know their audience best!
Make sure to keep good notes on what you did this year, and the outcomes of your efforts. As your team’s new de facto leader, you can help keep everyone reflect on their successes and strategize the ways to overcome challenges. Then, you can take those learnings forward into next year, and many years to come. Keep up the hustle!-30-
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