Apr 25, 2016
People give more when they see others participating. The most recent major study on the effects of peer influence on nonprofit donations discovered people are more likely to contribute funds to causes when they witness their peers doing the same, according to The Economic Journal. People will also give more when they know the identity of previous contributors and if they hear their peers will be made aware of donations.
By creating networks of donors and publicly sharing information about fundraisers, organizations can promote success while encouraging new contacts to join their peers in sharing.
Volunteers are a great source for advocacy. A report from the Case Foundation and Achieve found employees at large companies were more likely to donate their time when asked by a co-worker rather than a boss. In fact, peer encouragement was the third most popular reason for millennial volunteering after passion for the cause and desire to put skills to good use.
An organization can't just tell volunteers to spread the word with friends, however. The Fundraising Authority said members of a nonprofit organization need constant training and feedback. If managers want volunteers to start using Twitter to ask for donations, there need to be guidelines. Having consistent terminology and messages prevents donors and volunteers from being discouraged by false promises.
Once a nonprofit has internal guidelines for peer advocacy, it needs to create opportunities to meet with potential donors and volunteers face to face. Hosting events gives charity representatives a chance to voice why they support the cause and how their tasks will be helped through donations and additional support. It may be wise for nonprofits to plan events designed to attract populations similar to the groups that make up the volunteer base or past donors.
Nonprofits want to set their people up for success. Allowing them to advocate should provide them with responsibility beyond handing out fliers. Arming volunteers with information through mobile devices means they can talk with donors while referencing charts and images. If a nonprofit utilizes mobile payment processing technology, representatives can collect funds in midst of personal interactions.
In the Economic Journal study, knowing the identity of major donors encouraged the size of donations, especially when the gift was given by an individual people respected. You should look for important members of your community to rally behind your cause, but you can also turn every donor into an important individual by sharing their story.
It's easy to get audiences to identify with gift-givers if an organization shows how its attributes and goals align with potential donors. Nonprofits should ask contributors if the organization can share their information on social networks or in other marketing materials. Most millennials are happy to tweet or write Facebook statuses about their experiences and charities can use their content to appeal to their peers.
Social media influencers
Very often, major charities try to get celebrities to speak on behalf of a cause. New media channels like Facebook and YouTube have their own form of celebrity called social influencers. Social Media Today described these individuals as platform users with large audiences and content that motivates huge reactions from online audiences.
Nonprofits should see which posts are most popular and which social personalities really encourage participation online or during events. It's possible for organizations to emulate the performance of these individuals or enlist social influencers in their advocacy campaigns. Since many people look for good causes to support, contacting social influencers with opportunities to leverage their popularity may be an exciting proposition.