Promoting Your Virtual Volunteer Opportunities: 4 Pro Tips

With people and organizations moving to the virtual landscape in the COVID era, there are new ways to empower and engage your supporters. Whether you’re looking to increase virtual event attendance or expand your volunteer base, developing a volunteer management strategy tailored to attracting online engagement is crucial.

In the digital age, effectively promoting your virtual fundraising opportunities is essential for mobilizing people to support your organization’s mission. 

Effectively managing your volunteers has a beneficial payoff for your organization. With a well-planned strategy comes increased engagement, meaningful relationships with your volunteers and community, and boosts to revenue over time. Plus, developing a strong plan will save your team time and expand your events’ turnout. 

Surprisingly, many growing organizations neglect developing a concrete promotional strategy for their volunteer programming. This component is often overlooked due to other priorities taking precedence. Some consider it to take too much time to address, or sometimes volunteer management is an issue not yet on their radar. However, remember that your organization can get ahead and grow your impact by making effective volunteer engagement and management a point of focus. 

Because virtual volunteering is at the forefront of an organization’s recruitment strategies and has staying power, it is a worthwhile endeavor. Digital platforms reach a broad audience regardless of location and can exponentially grow your organization’s reach. However, effectively promoting these opportunities is the challenge, as virtual volunteer involvement is still new for many supporters. 

Here’s what to consider when forming your strategy for promoting volunteer opportunities:

  • Using dedicated volunteer management software.
  • Tapping into the power of peer-to-peer recruiting.
  • Taking a targeted approach to marketing.
  • Promoting new ways for volunteers to grow their impact. 

This year, aim to seek out new ways for your organization to stand out online. Promote your organization’s opportunities strategically while forming meaningful connections with those who support you. Here’s how to promote your nonprofit’s virtual volunteering opportunities to your online audience of supporters. 

Use dedicated volunteer management software.

Anchoring your recruitment efforts with dedicated volunteer management software is a crucial aspect of your growth in the digital age. This software simplifies the management of those who volunteer with and support your mission. It will also provide invaluable data by tracking volunteer engagement. 

With this information, it’ll be easier to refine your marketing strategies over time by showing you what does and doesn’t work to attract and engage new volunteers. The long-term value of investing in management software is beneficial as it helps your organization increase volunteer engagement and retention to better support your cause.

For example, tracking engagement data can help you discover:

  • Which marketing outlets most effectively attract volunteers
  • Trends in volunteer feedback
  • Common characteristics of your most engaged volunteers

With these crucial metrics at your fingertips, your organization has untapped growth potential. Reading into trends and understanding behaviors will help you place your promotional efforts in the right place at the right time.

For instance, if you find that social media is your most effective source for volunteers for a particular type of virtual volunteer opportunity, you can anchor your future outreach strategies with social media. Or, if you find that volunteer sign-ups dropped for a recent event or campaign, you can look back to your marketing strategies to see exactly where your promotional efforts underperformed.

Tap into the power of peer-to-peer recruiting.

Your current volunteers are some of your most valuable assets when it comes to recruiting new volunteers. Provide them with the right tools to recruit volunteers to support your cause! Whether it’s on-the-ground or virtual support, every member is a crucial part of your organization and can act as a powerful ambassador when equipped for the job.

An effective way to gain traction with potential volunteers is through digital communication. This can take many forms on a variety of platforms. Encourage your volunteers to actively share their experiences on their social media platforms and by digital word of mouth; texting.

You want to ensure that your volunteers provide valid links to connect potential supporters with your online pages. Volunteer opportunity networks (like Mobilize) also help with this task too. It provides your volunteers with easy social share buttons and copy-and-paste codes to share via text or email. 

Be sure to include your organization’s social media handles as a point of contact, as well. Here, you might offer a range of engaging content:

  • Testimonials and stories from past volunteers
  • Impact reports and photos or videos of previous volunteer events
  • Volunteer shout-outs
  • The general buzz and conversation around your mission and work

Through social media, potential volunteers can get an accurate and immersive look into what it would be like to volunteer for your organization. Be sure to work these into your broader social media strategies to see the best results over time.

Finally, thank your volunteers for spreading the word. People respond well to appreciation and will be compelled to keep recruiting on your behalf. This directory of thank-you templates from Good United is a handy resource to get started. 

Take a targeted approach to marketing.

In the last year, marketing communication has shifted largely online, especially with people working from home. This sudden change forces nonprofits to rethink communication strategies, especially their approaches to marketing their events and efforts to their volunteers. 

Just as your organization has altered its strategy for communicating with employees internally, make sure your external communication to volunteers is also following today’s best practices. To stand out in a crowded online space, targeting your message specifically to them will be your best bet.

Start by refining your email strategies. With email being a cornerstone of digital communication, messages that seem irrelevant or spammy are much more likely to get ignored by your volunteers. Combat this by keeping your end-user in mind. Write your subject lines and openers to acknowledge that they’re people behind the screens, too. Rather than blasting general announcements about new opportunities to all of your supporters, take a more targeted approach when possible. 

There are helpful resources to refer to for tactful audience-centric messaging. This will help make your messages more effective and prevent them from feeling like generic or irrelevant appeals for support. 

These emails can be personalized by direct your users to the most relevant opportunities based on what you already know about them. An example of this could be tracking which types of opportunities a volunteer has engaged with in the past to promote specific future opportunities to them. This will further enhance their relationship with that supporter and encourage them to continue to support your cause.

This messaging practice can further be used to encourage non-volunteers to get involved. When someone donates to a particular campaign, consider how that campaign’s specific messaging and goals motivated them to give. What action words and attention grabbers did they use to reach the end goal of the user donating? Use those insights to determine which types of volunteer opportunities and messaging tactics will be most appealing to them.

Promote new ways for volunteers to grow their impact.

Giving current volunteers ways to grow their impact on your mission is another vital part of effective long-term volunteer management. When you’ve built strategies to retain volunteers over the long haul, also use them to attract new supporters. Beyond expanding your volunteer base, find creative ways to expand their opportunities with your organization. An investment in their engagement is a powerful motivator.

When you expand opportunities for your volunteers, it can look like a variety of methods. For example, you can provide current and potential volunteers with opportunities like:

  • Volunteer grants that can help them boost their impact on your mission through matched donations from their employers.
  • Training programs and additional development opportunities to learn new skills related to your work.
  • Special membership perks for stand-out members, such as long-term volunteers, and those who are proactive in recruiting new volunteers.

By offering ways for volunteers to grow their impact over time, you essentially give them a reason to stick around. In addition to simply offering a range of different volunteering opportunities, Tactics like these are key to engage and retain supporters over the long run, which is itself one of the best ways to market your programming to potential volunteers.

With new and effective methods to promote your organization’s virtual volunteer opportunities, you can grow your reach and impact. Digital platforms have taken precedent with volunteers and organizations alike to recruit, retain, and motivate volunteers. 


It’s crucial to remain at the forefront of effective volunteer management strategies. If strategic volunteer management is a new undertaking for your organization, brush up with Mobilize’s complete guide, which walks through even more marketing and recruiting tips.

Regardless of the exact tactics you roll out, the main idea is to come up with the best ways to effectively inform others of your opportunities, as you want to expand your reach as much as possible. Your organization’s online presence has the potential to reach a broad audience regardless of location. Your impact can grow in exponential ways as you deepen relationships with your supporters. 

Creating your strategy is as simple as using the right volunteer management software to expand your organization’s mission’s reach and impact. Be sure to supplement it with peer-to-peer recruiting and targeted messages. 

With the new year, there is ample opportunity for creative and practical ideas to bolster your digital presence. With this, your organization’s volunteer base will expand and further the impact you have in your community.

Nonprofit Management Software: 3 Benefits

The new year is off and running, which for many of us means it’s time to take stock of what’s working and what’s not in our personal and professional lives. It’s a time to reflect, evaluate, and make changes to start 2021 off on the right foot.

That means it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your nonprofit’s operations and donor management strategies. Are they running as smoothly as possible? Are you doing everything you can to maximize virtual fundraising, boost engagement, and further your cause? 

If you’re still sending out email blasts manually, using clunky spreadsheets for donor information, and handing out hard copy volunteer sign-up forms, the answer is definitely no. There’s a better way, one that lets you focus more on your mission, not administrative tasks by using a nonprofit database or constituent relationship management (CRM) system.

Here at Lumaverse, we empower nonprofits to maximize their impact by streamlining formerly tedious and time-consuming administrative duties. The Lumaverse comprehensive CRM for nonprofits—and others like it—allow you to get the most out of your donor data, manage your volunteers like a pro, and launch virtual fundraising campaigns with the push of a button—so you can spend more time doing what really matters. 

So what’s holding you back? Leave messy, incompatible management methods in 2020 and consider making the leap to a single, integrated software system to manage your nonprofit’s relationships. In this article, we’ll go through 3 of the top benefits of making this change: 

  1. Smarter fundraising 
  2. Streamlined volunteer management 
  3. Improved communication with supporters 

Since we’ve all made the shift to virtual-only engagement in the past year, the need for and the benefits of professional-grade software for your nonprofit have only increased. Keep reading to find out what it could do for your organization. 

1. Smarter fundraising

Nonprofit management software gives you access to valuable data analysis tools so you can raise more money. How does it work? Integrations between your platforms allows data to flow from your donation forms, sign-ups, and subscriptions right to your donor database. While manual imports from other platforms are possible, integrations ensure the data is automatically reported, accurate, and up-to-date. 

As the data continuously imports, you’ll be able to analyze information on your current and past donors, which enables you to: 

  • Develop donor profiles to store engagement and data information
  • Segment your donor base by particular characteristics or engagement markers
  • Tailor your fundraising efforts to those specific segments

Let’s break those down. 

As your supporters engage with your organization in various ways—for example, subscribing to your newsletter, donating to your crowdfunding campaign, or volunteering at an event—this information is added to the supporter’s profile. And—and this is key—supporter information is stored and managed in one holistic CRM, not separate databases for members, volunteers, and donors. That gives you a better understanding of how the same person might be interacting with your organization as a member, donor, and/or volunteer. And ultimately, this gives you better insight into what motivates people to donate to your cause.

Donor profiles make it easy to track and analyze your relationships with individual donors. As you keep adding more data to your CRM over time, you’ll be able to generate insights about who your donors are, what motivates them to give, and how you can best grow your relationships with them. 

Segmentation of your donor base saves your organization time by isolating certain commonalities among donors and grouping them based on these characteristics. For example, you could segment your donor base by:

  • Preferred communication method 
  • Event attendance 
  • Volunteer history 
  • Recurring donations 
  • Age brackets
  • Giving capacity 

Segmenting your donors by specific engagement markers like these then allows you to tailor your fundraising efforts to a particular audience. Your nonprofit will avoid spending time and money broadcasting messages to extremely wide audiences, not all of which will be responsive to them. You’ll have better success rates on the personalized campaigns you do launch.  

For instance, if you’re promoting your next campaign or event via direct mail, your CRM should make it easy to segment your donors by their historical responsiveness to this outreach tactic. Focusing your direct mail efforts on this segment saves you time and money, and it boosts the chances that more of your recipients will actually engage with your letter. Then, you can explore other donor segments and communication outlets to ensure thorough but more targeted coverage.

2. Streamlined volunteer management 

Volunteers are a vital part of any nonprofit’s base of supporters. Think of all the tasks, big and small, that might get left on the back burner for weeks—even months!—without the generous help of your supporters who donate their time to your cause. They’re an essential part of what keeps your nonprofit up and running, and as such, it should be a priority to keep them happy and engaged. 

After all, if your volunteers have positive experiences with your organization, they’re likely to engage further and even spread the word about your mission to their friends. Keeping volunteers happy is an investment for the future of your organization—as volunteers become more loyal over time,  they’re more likely to devote more of their resources to you as they mature. 

For example, a young volunteer might volunteer an hour a day, but as she gets older, makes more money, and has more time, maybe she chooses to donate to your organization because she has a history with you. Or maybe she stops volunteering at other organizations and focuses more on yours because you actually thank her, remind her of her upcoming activities, and make it easy to work with you. 

 But if the volunteer sign-up process is confusing, or a volunteer shows up early to box food for your food drive only to be told their shift was accidentally double-booked…that likely won’t be happening. 

Using dedicated volunteer management tools and sign-up software to help track and facilitate your interactions with volunteers will help you avoid these kinds of issues. With volunteer signup tools like SignUpGenius, volunteers sign up for a shift online, data automatically syncs with your calendar, and the software handles volunteer communications like confirmation and reminder emails. 

It’s a win-win: your volunteers’ experience is easy, intuitive, and clear, and you’ll always know if you have enough support at any given event. 

Plus, when your volunteer management and registration tools integrate with your CRM, all that engagement data will seamlessly report to your donor database. That makes it easy to keep track of engagement for future campaigns and reference it when you’re planning a volunteer appreciation activity or event. 

3. Improved communication with supporters 

One of the most important aspects of donor acquisition and retention is communication. If you’re not talking to your donors, odds are they’re not thinking about your organization. That means less engagement and fewer donations. Plus, if you’re not regularly  thanking them for their engagement, they’re likely to feel unappreciated. 

With dedicated donor management software, you can stay on top of virtual fundraising campaigns and send fundraising emails to a specific segment of your donor base. That way, you don’t have to spend hours sifting through contact information and typing in email addresses. You can draft a single email to send to a certain segment of your audience, check a box, and send it off to just that segment, allowing for maximum personalization. 

Messages that feel personal—that recognize something more unique about that specific person, like that they’ve donated before, or they attended your last event—are more likely to connect with the recipient and result in engagement. One of the most fundamental ways to do this is to greet each donor by name in your emails, rather than using a generic greeting. Email tools that integrate with your CRM should be able to easily pull and automatically populate names into your messages.

The time you save from automating the bulk of your thank-you messages could be spent by further personalizing thank-you messages to your top donors, like signing their letters by hand or even calling them to express your gratitude. 

Software also drastically simplifies thanking your supporters and following up over time. It’s easy to set up automated confirmation emails in response to any donation, as well as thank-you emails customized for the type of donation, whether it was a win at a virtual auction, a donation to your virtual fundraiser, or a recurring contribution. 

Thanking your donors and volunteers promptly and genuinely will help you secure long-term support for your cause. Don’t let it fall through the cracks because of poor organization and system incompatibility. 


So what’s the end goal of nonprofit management software? The most immediate benefit is getting the administrative or repetitive manual tasks out of the way so you and your staff can focus on the important work to further your cause. Manual data entry is not the best way to be spending anyone’s time. Instead of pushing information around on spreadsheets, you could be designing your next fundraiser or brainstorming volunteer appreciation ideas to increase engagement

That may sound obvious, but there are reasons organizations hold onto old, inefficient systems: they’ve been in place forever; they’re familiar; it’s perceived as a stress to change systems. While upgrading to professional-grade software is an important investment, working with a unified software system saves you time, boosts results, and helps you more easily identify shortcomings.

Ultimately, you’ll free up time for what really matters: your mission, the people you help, and the community that depends on you. Good luck! 

4 Strategies for Smarter Virtual Fundraising in 2021

This year, the term “virtual fundraising” became a hot topic for nonprofit professionals everywhere. While online giving was on the rise even before 2020, it wasn’t until this year that virtual fundraising became the rule rather than the exception.

Since stay-at-home orders were first put in place, your team has likely learned a lot about how to pursue your mission in a remote landscape. Your team has launched virtual events, engaged with donors online, and continued to raise needed funds.

But in some cases, it’s possible that you’re relying on band aid fixes or a disconnected network of tools that you’re already starting to outgrow. As we approach a new year, it’s a good opportunity to revisit your virtual fundraising strategy and make improvements.  

To reach your online fundraising goals in 2021, your nonprofit must leverage powerful tools and engagement data throughout every aspect of your strategy. 

At SalsaLabs, we empower nonprofit professionals with software solutions for smarter fundraising, data management, and donor engagement. Based on some of the strategies we’ve seen work well throughout the challenges of COVID-19, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations to elevate your upcoming fundraising efforts:

  1. Use data to better inform your campaigns.
  2. Send targeted communications to supporters.
  3. Utilize marketing automation tools.
  4. Choose unified CRM and fundraising software.

Just because 2020 is almost over doesn’t mean the need for virtual fundraising is going anywhere. Even once in-person interactions are safe again, nonprofits will likely continue to employ virtual engagement tactics because they are so cost-effective, efficient, and widely accessible to supporters. 

With all of these potential benefits, it’s clear why your virtual fundraising strategy needs to be in tip-top shape. Now, let’s dive into how you can make those improvements.

1. Use data to better inform your campaigns.

At the heart of any successful fundraising campaign should be a strong understanding of two main things: your supporters and your past campaigns. 

When you capture, record, and use this relevant and highly informative data, you’ll be better able to plan and execute any fundraiser.

This way, you can make plans based on real knowledge of what will resonate with your supporters rather than on assumptions. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of stereotypes like “older supporters don’t understand social media” and “Millennials can’t stand phone calls,” but these cliches don’t reflect the uniqueness of your supporter base. 

Analyze your existing supporter data and past campaign information to consider questions such as:

  • What types of marketing tend to lead to more first-time engagements? For instance, are you more likely to get more new donors via Google ads or social media?
  • What leads to the highest engagement among your existing supporters?
  • In which ways do your donors prefer to give?
  • When is the best time to send emails or post on social media?

To know the answers to these questions, you need to be recording various metrics-based goals like click-through rate, dollars donated, number of new supporters, and more. When possible, try to track these metrics for different groups of supporters, such as by age group. This will help you determine how, when, and where to tell your story in a way that will resonate most effectively with your target audience.

According to AccuData’s guide to data marketing, data-driven campaigns have up to 5 times the ROI, so this practice is sure to pay off with more revenue for your mission. 

2. Send targeted communications to supporters.

The ability to quickly send a generic email to a mass amount of subscribers is both the beauty and downfall of email.

We’ve likely all received the standard “Dear friend” end-of-year email from a nonprofit. With a line like, “Whether you volunteered with us, donated, or attended an event, we’re grateful for your support,” it’s clear that the organization has no clue who is on the receiving end of the message! This kind of mass email is better than no thank-you at all, but it misses a valuable opportunity to connect more deeply with recipients.

Instead, with segmentation and personalization technology, you’ll be able to send emails that are more relevant and impactful to groups and individuals.

First, creating segments of supporters allows you to address groups based on a particular characteristic. You might choose to create segments based on the following criteria:

  • Engagement type (donor, volunteer, event attendee, peer-to-peer fundraiser)
  • Donation type (major donor, recurring, first-time, year-end)
  • Demographic characteristics (age ranges, location-based, income levels)
  • Interests (loves animals, interest in politics)

These are just a few examples to get you started. You can also create a custom segment based on criteria relevant to your nonprofit. For example, if you work at an animal shelter, you may consider creating segments for whether your supporters are cat people or dog people. Then, when you send your appeal emails, you’ll be able to tug at their heartstrings with the right kind of ask. 

In addition to sending emails that are tailored to different groups, you can also customize the content of the email to each individual. Some email marketing platforms allow you to use data fields to automatically pull data from your CRM and incorporate it into your outgoing emails. 

You could incorporate personalization into your email communications through the following strategies:

  • Tailoring the donation request. Use past data like a recent gift and wealth information to inform your next suggested gift amount. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more prevalent in donation software and can also automate the task of creating smart ask amounts for your appeals.
  • Using personalized data. Incorporating the supporter’s name, previous gifts or actions, or other details for a personal touch.

Studies have shown that segmentation and personalization can lead to a 760% increase in revenue for email marketers. To take advantage of this, be sure to find an email marketing platform that integrates seamlessly with your donor database.

3. Utilize marketing automation tools.

Once you have an informed, segmented marketing strategy in place, you can rely on automation tools to efficiently drive your efforts forward.

While automation won’t independently drive your marketing strategy to success, it can help to streamline your approach and save time for your team. Automation allows you to reach the right supporter, at the right time, with the right message—without anyone needing to hover over the send button.

Marketing automation is particularly helpful for moving a supporter through a dedicated email pipeline towards a target action (often called a drip email campaign). To give you a better understanding of how this might work at your nonprofit, let’s consider the following two example scenarios.

  1. Sarah signs up for your nonprofit’s newsletter. Over the coming weeks, she receives a “Welcome” series of emails at a pre-specified cadence that include information about your work and mission. The emails stop when Sarah completes the target action of making a donation.
  2. Jackson makes a first-time donation through your online giving page. Your matching gift software finds Jackson’s employer on a list of companies. Jackson receives a series of emails explaining how and why to submit a matching gift request, which stop when the match is secured.

While these target actions are both revenue-based, you can use marketing automation to promote any kind of engagement. For instance, you may want to encourage volunteer sign-ups or advertise registration for your upcoming virtual event.

For nonprofits, automation helps decrease staff time spent on marketing tasks and increases your team’s overall efficiency. Using your limited resources wisely can make a big difference in the success of your campaigns.

4. Choose unified CRM and fundraising software.

While all of the above strategies are helpful, they may be challenging or even impossible without the right technology on your side.

For the most successful virtual fundraising, you’ll want to implement software solutions that integrate with your CRM. You can also opt for a fundraising and CRM suite like Salsa’s donor management software and engagement platform that are built to function together. 

Without a connected system, you may have to rely on manual data entry or spreadsheet imports. Not only does this eat up a lot of valuable time, but it also opens the door for costly errors or omissions. 

Instead, a unified system allows you to trust that all of your supporter interactions and other data are in one place. The ability to see a big-picture overview will help your nonprofit learn more about its supporters, increase engagement, and raise more from your community.

A comprehensive tech stack will transform your virtual fundraising efforts across the board, but to demonstrate just one area of impact, we’ll explore the potential benefits for a peer-to-peer fundraiser. A comprehensive suite of nonprofit tech can:

  • Identify highly-engaged supporters, long-time donors and ambassadors, and invite them to participate with personalized outreach.
  • Send automated coaching emails to targeted groups of participants based on real-time fundraising progress.
  • Sync participant data with existing supporter records in your CRM. 
  • Follow up with new donors to share your gratitude and introduce them to your cause.

As this guide to peer-to-peer fundraising explains, it’s especially helpful to have easy access to performance data while the campaign is occurring. This way, you’ll be able to discover insights on the fly and make changes as needed, rather than having to wait for your next fundraiser. 

While some of these benefits are unique to peer-to-peer fundraising, the advantages of a unified CRM system are applicable to any of your virtual fundraising efforts.


As we move into 2021, nonprofits will continue to rely on virtual fundraising to pursue their missions safely and efficiently. As you prepare next year’s campaigns, make sure you’re relying on data, sending effective and tailored communications, and using a comprehensive and well-integrated database. By following these recommendations, you’ll be prepared to launch your best virtual campaign yet. Good luck!


This guest post was contributed by Hayley Roll, Marketing Analyst at Salsa Labs.

Marketing a Nonprofit Event Tips

Marketing a Virtual Nonprofit Event: 3 Essential Tips

2020 proved what we’ve known for a long time – nonprofits are resilient. Virtual events have been an effective option for nonprofits of all sizes for a year that looked very different from others. As we hit the ground running in 2021, virtual events can and should play central roles in your engagement strategies.

Unlike the lesson from “Field of Dreams,” just because a virtual event is built, doesn’t mean that contributors will come or that donations will flood in. To get the word out in today’s virtual world, you have to invest as much into your marketing efforts as you do to your fundraising!

To get the most from your fundraising, your virtual event needs to be marketed effectively before, during, and even after. 

There are a few reasons why this is true. Marketing provides you with an excellent chance to engage with the larger community and your supporters. Also, marketing informs people about what you do, your mission story, and over time, it helps to build your brand awareness. Let’s get started on 3 amazing marketing tips essential to planning and promoting your next virtual event:

  • Recruit ambassadors to help spread the word.
  • Centralize the virtual event experience.
  • Target your messages to particular donor segments.
Recruit ambassadors to help promote your virtual fundraising event.

1. Recruit ambassadors to help spread the word.

If you’re looking for a creative way to generate excitement for your event and reach new donors, we’ve got the perfect strategy for your nonprofit: Ambassador Fundraising.

This new trend harnesses ambassadors, or your most loyal supporters, to spread the word about your virtual event and fundraise before, during, and sometimes after.

Think of it as creating a fundraising army, whose built-in social and professional networks allow you to engage and funnel new volunteers, donors, and activists to your cause. But for it to be successful, you need to choose the right ambassadors for your cause.

Good places to look for ambassadors include:

  •  Board members: Board members are natural ambassadors. They are already committed and dedicated to the success of your nonprofit. They often have large professional networks, making them perfect social fundraisers. Engage them at a new level and watch their contacts turn into participants for your event.
  • Event committee: The people working on the event itself are passionate about the outcome! Tap the most dedicated committee members to become your ambassadors.
  • Volunteers: Volunteers are another reliable source for ambassadors, since they are deeply involved with your cause. They are used to giving their time and talent to your efforts. Target your most active and generous volunteers and ask them to join your ambassador campaign.
  • Micro-Influencers on social media: This is a great place to look if you’re just starting your ambassador program. Look for local personalities with a large network and an active social media presence.
  • Sponsor connections: Ask your sponsors and long-times community partners if they know of potential ambassadors. Call in those favors you have stored up to get great ambassadors working for your team.
  • Honorees at your signature event: Honorees are well-respected members of the community, which makes them the perfect supporters to raise donations before the gala.

Once you find the right ambassadors, the next step is to set them up for success! Outline clear goals, provide the right marketing assets, and let your ambassadors loose. Watch as their new network brings new attendees and donations to your virtual event.

Centralize the virtual event experience to simplify the process of promoting it.

2. Centralize the virtual event experience.

The world of fundraising has changed. Virtual events mean trading ballrooms for family rooms, stages for screens, and in-person entertainment for a new level of online engagement.

Successfully marketing your virtual event depends on your ability to reach and engage donors through a seamless donor experience. That’s why it’s essential to centralize the virtual event experience for your attendees – a one stop shop for them to support your mission virtually.

Tapping into the power of a tool like the OneCause Virtual Event Center takes the virtual experience to the next level. For your nonprofit, it means a centralized destination to point supporters towards with your marketing efforts. For your supporters, it means the ability to:

  • Engage with the event using a single device (mobile, tablet or desktop)
  • Register to effortlessly gain access to the virtual event
  • Consume content before, during, and after the virtual event
  • Explore why supporting the mission of the Nonprofit matters
  • Donate through traditional means (e.g. fund-a-need, live appeal)
  • Bid effortlessly in silent and live auctions without leaving the broadcast (i.e. live stream)
  • Purchase raffle tickets and other fixed price options

Centralizing your attendee’s virtual event experience means a more intuitive user experience during the event, resulting in boosted engagement and revenue.

Creating that sense of a giving community before, during, and after the virtual event – and delivering a delightful, online experience anytime, anywhere – is critical to fundraising success in this new virtual world. By centralizing these efforts, marketing your event is as easy as ever.

Target your promotional messages to specific segments of your donor  base.

3. Target your messages to particular donor segments.

Data is the key to unlocking your virtual event marketing potential! It allows you to engage better with donors and grow at scale (while still being personalized). By targeting your marketing messages to specific donor segments, you can boost engagement and registrations for your virtual event.

How you decide to segment your donors depends on the needs of your organization. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can segment your donors to help make sure you are connecting with donors where they are.

  • How your donors were acquired
  • Size of gift
  • First time versus returning donor
  • One-time gift versus recurring donations
  • Age/demographics
  • Donor interest

You can even target the way your donors have engaged with your events. For example:

  • New donors who haven’t attended an event before
  • Loyal donors who used to attend events but haven’t virtually yet
  • Lapsed donors who haven’t donated in a while but need to be re-engaged

Figure out what will help you scale your virtual event fundraising while also keeping a personal touch to your efforts and roll with it!

After figuring out how you’re going to segment your donors, the next step is to create marketing messages tailored to their particular motivators. For example, donors who haven’t yet attended virtual events should be clearly shown how your virtual event will work and that your past virtual events have been enjoyable experiences for attendees and impactful for your cause.

Think about taking a multi-channel marketing approach to reaching these segments. Multi-channel marketing refers to using a variety of mediums to spread the word about your event in advance. Reaching a wide audience can be a difficult task. The best way to do so is to diversify your communications!

Use marketing channels such as:

  • Email newsletters
  • Social media networks
  • Text messages
  • Video marketing
  • Direct mail
  • Print handouts
  • Bulletin boards

A tactful multi-channel strategy is key to attaining maximum engagement with your event. But don’t try to do it all at once! Choose 2-3 tactics that work best for your team and your mission and focus your attention there.

Conclusion

In order to cultivate better relationships with your supporters, your organization should be consistent in its outreach, communications, and engagement. A strong marketing strategy for your virtual event will give you what you need to grab and maintain donors’ attention from a distance.

This ONE Thing Will Transform Your Marketing & Fundraising

The opportunity you have right now is SO big, that it’s a bit overwhelming. …
You have a blank canvas of a year in front of you, and the marketing and fundraising actions you take right now will have a huge impact on your results.

So, what are you going to change? And what should stay the same? How will you create a masterpiece with this year of time and opportunity?

You know that marketing and fundraising have to be more on target than ever, with messages based on right-now data and stories from across your channels, campaigns, and programs. That’s the path to Priority 2014—the relevant, memorable and unified supporter or participant experience you must provide, an experience that builds on each supporter’s or participant’s till-now engagement with your organization and is most likely to motivate her next action.

Practically speaking, there’s just ONE path to that kind of unified experience: Right-Things, Right-Now Marketing.  Get there with this Right-Things, Right-Now Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template

Here’s how to produce a relevant, memorable and unified supporter experience:

1) Center supporters and participants at the heart of your organization, now and forever.

This isn’t bright-and-shiny new, but it’s more important than ever. Let me put it this way: If you don’t shape program and services, marketing and fundraising around your supporters’ and participants’ actions, wants, habits, and values, you’ll alienate folks who are close now and fail miserably in making new friends.

Volunteers, donors, activists, program participants, and other supporters are vital to achieving your mission. You can’t do it without them, so keep your eye on the prize.

To Do

  • Focus on no more than three groups of individuals—those most likely to take the actions you need or who represent the greatest risk to achieving your mission if not engaged this year.
  • Break these groups into segments by special interest, wants, previous actions, location, or any other combination of selections
  • Get to know them (see #3 below).

2) Listen to and learn from your people in a way that’s radically different from what you’re doing right now.

To Do

  • Set your end goal as treating (and communicating with) your supporters and participants as individuals, rather than one-size-fits-all, as much as possible. That means, each person’s experience (or segment of folks with like experiences) defines your marketing and fundraising approaches.
  • To get there, learn everything you can about your people every way you can, on an ongoing basis:
    • Develop personas or profiles that typify a member of each audience or segment and surround yourself and your colleagues with persona head shots—it’s hokey, but it keeps the people who count at the top of everyone’s mind
    • Create an ad hoc marketing advisory group to call on for super-short input when you are uncertain about a certain message, channel, or approach. What you think counts far less!
    • Listen to what’s being said about your organization and team online, and engage with the speakers human-to-human
    • Survey via brief online questionnaires, motivating participation via e-mail and social media channels, and concrete incentives
    • Collect information on interests and more via every single active transaction (giving, volunteer sign up, event registration) pages, e-mail, social and, conversations.

3) Set up systems, roles, and responsibilities to harvest, share, and analyze data, feedback, anecdotes plus  other insights

To Do

  • Assess where supporter information to date—preferences, habits, relationships and interactions— lives across all departments and databases in your organization
  • Implement a robust database tool that enables you to connect all data on a single supporter or participant (now fragmented in multiple departments and records) in a single, in-depth profile. That the key to the rich insights (a true 360-degree perspective) necessary for truly integrated marketing that reflects your supporters’ interactions with your organization over time, and is delivered consistently—across marketing channels and strategies—for a more relevant, resonant experience.
  • Log, share, and analyze what you learn about your people across your organization—instead of limiting analysis to actions within a single program, campaign or channel—in a way that’s easy to access for all.

The more coordinated and robust your insight is into each person you’re hoping to engage, the greater the probability you’ll motivate him or her to take the next action (or realize that he/she’s not a likely prospect).

4) Shape rewarding and connected relationships with your people OVER TIME—a cumulative supporter or participant experience.

Your prospects and supporters are just like you—Individuals want, and in many cases, expect, content and programs to be customized to their preferences, habits, and history of action.

The Altimeter Research Group has deemed this the “me-cosystem: The ecosystem that revolves around “me,” an organization’s data and technologies to deliver more relevant, useful, and engaging experiences. Supporters will benefit from contextualized experiences (digitally and otherwise), in exchange for giving up personal data.”

To Do

  • Apply your learnings and analysis, and those of your colleagues, to shape marketing and fundraising outreach, and hone programs and services on the fly; and
  • Ensure that one experience links to the next for each one of them (within reason, of course).

The “days of the one-off marketing project or fundraising campaign are over. Now it’s about data and profiles and [a series] of connected experiences,” says Dianne Wilkins, CEO, Critical Mass.

5) Get agile to satisfy supporter expectations that your nonprofit is constantly adapting to fit their schedules and lives

And that has to include how they interact (or not) with your marketing and fundraising outreach, and your programs and services.

Beware! There’s still way too much talking about data and stories among nonprofits, and way too little acting on these insights. Priority 2014 means changing that. In fact, “[supporters and participants] are insisting that [nonprofits] sew together all of the micro-interactions (between organizations and individuals) in an intelligent way. And when [organizations] disappoint, their people often let them have it, and very publicly,” says Wilkins.

To Do

  • Replace traditional campaigns—based on pre-determined start and stop dates and series of messages—with real-time marketing, based on supporters and participants’ actions and schedules
  • Kill the e-mail blasts—sending the same e-mail to everyone at the same time—(they’re the loudest “who cares” I know; who wants to be blasted?)
  • Segment your lists as precisely as time, expertise and tools allow, grouping prospects by shared wants, values, or engagement history to produce more relevant content
  • Start to tear down the age-old barrier between program and marketing/fundraising efforts (and views of your participants and supporters).

6) Shift toward “all for one and one for all” teamwork

Priority? Throw down the gauntlet and tear down your marketing and fundraising ivory tower to excite and empower your colleagues!

In fact, that’s the only way you’ll build the all-organization relationships, sense of adventure, and satisfaction necessary to drive a speeded-up marketing, delivery, and revision cycle on both program/service and marketing/fundraising fronts.

To Do

  • Join your colleagues across your organization in shaping ambitious but realistic roles and responsibilities for data and story gathering, sharing, analysis, and action.
  • Dedicate yourself, no matter your role, to making your donor experience as relevant and resonant as possible.

I urge you to forget whether you staff a program, run the teen volunteer program, do back-end accounting, or have the word “marketing” in your title. Instead, focus on joining forces to produce a satisfying, memorable, and unified supporter experience. It’s the ONE thing that will move your mission forward.

Bonus: Reduces your workload, increases your confidence that you’re doing the right thing, and sends your professional happiness sky high.

Kick start your ONE thing now, with the Right-Things, Right-Now Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template

Toward a Relevant, Unified Supporter Experience–What are You Doing Now?
What are you doing to deliver right-things, right-now marketing? What’s working, and what’s getting in your way? Please share your experience here.

P.S. Thanks to Gary Keller for inspiring me to focus on the ONE thing, as “Success demands singleness of purpose.”  I strongly recommend you read Keller’s The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results