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How to Find Digital Ambassadors for Your Nonprofit’s Cause

Volunteer ManagementCommunity & Social Media

By: Kayla Matthews, editor of Productivity Bytes

Spreading the word about your nonprofit is an important part of achieving your mission. Having an excited, engaged audience can boost donations, bolster support, and deepen your impact.

But it isn’t always easy to get people excited about social causes. If the message isn’t coming from the right individual, it can seem boring or forgettable.

That’s why many nonprofits recruit brand ambassadors. Enlisting enthusiastic supporters to promote your organization throughout their own social networks expands the depth and reach of your marketing efforts. The more brand ambassadors you have, the faster your message will spread.

In today’s online world, it’s easy to create a community of ambassadors. By establishing a digital ambassador program, you can connect with individuals all over the world who feel strongly about the work you’re doing. The results can be transformative.

How to Locate the Right Digital Ambassadors

Digital ambassadors take your messaging and make it their own, promoting it through social media, blogging, and other online platforms.

A digital ambassador program allows individuals to get involved with your work while also promoting your nonprofit. Ambassadors gain the satisfaction of advancing a cause they care about, while your nonprofit gains more attention and attracts new supporters.

But  you don’t want just anyone becoming a mouthpiece for your organization. For a program to be successful, you need to be confident that your ambassadors are credible, informed, and genuinely invested in your mission.

Here are a few steps to follow to ensure you’re getting the right digital ambassadors for your nonprofit.

1. Define Your Ideal Ambassador

Your first step is to identify your ideal ambassador. Whether they have a certain following or they’ve contributed a certain amount of time to your cause, outlining who you’d like to work with can make it easier for you to select potential brand ambassador.

To make it easier, you can create an ambassador persona the same way a company may create a buyer persona. This persona describes the ideal individual who would become an ambassador of your brand, mapping out everything from demographic information to individual aspirations, goals, and emotional motivators. The better you understand your target persona, the stronger your program will be.

2. Make Your Program Enticing and Easy to Join

While some individuals will be willing to promote your brand without anything in return, others will need more tangible incentives. Developing an enticing incentive structure will help keep ambassadors motivated and enthusiastic. Some nonprofits can afford to send out free merchandise or provide payment for referrals -- but if you can’t, don’t worry.  Recognition is the cornerstone of a solid incentives program, so figure out how you can meaningfully recognize your ambassadors for their hard work.

You also want to make it easy for loyal supporters to become an ambassador. Take a look at how this BPA-free water bottle company recruits brand ambassadors: not only does the site outline the specific steps wannabe ambassadors can take, it includes a short and sweet application from right there for visitors to submit.

3. Develop Your Ambassador Agreement

You need a guarantee that ambassadors will represent your nonprofit in the best way possible. Drafting an agreement can help ensure that ambassadors remain on-message, respectful, and responsible. FormSwift is a free tool that allows you to do this quickly. You could use their Independent Contractor Agreement and update the “Terms of Compensation” field to dictate that your ambassadors represent your organization only favorably and professionally.

An agreement can also help align expectations in terms of workload. In other words, ambassadors need to know what they’re signing up for. What would you like them to do? Is it enough to retweet your Twitter feed, or should ambassadors be showing up for events as well? How much autonomy do they have? What can they expect in return for their work in promoting your organization? If you’re a smaller nonprofit, you might want to keep ambassador workload light -- but if you’re a bigger organization with plenty of people who want to represent your brand, can consider ramping up responsibilities.

To create a successful digital ambassadors program for your nonprofit, you need to find a process that works for you and your audience. Listen to what your audience is looking for and engage with individuals who already feel strongly about your brand. Investing in your ambassador program can yield tremendous benefits -- both for your organization and the people who represent it.


About the Author

Kayla Matthews writes about fundraising and technology for sites like Nonprofit Hub and Volunteer Match. Read more posts by Kayla on her on her tech website, ProductivityBytes.com.