Why turning donors into fundraisers can have big payoffs for your nonprofit

on August 21, 2018

When it comes to fundraising, many nonprofits tend to focus most, if not all, of their efforts on getting more donors and donor retention. The art of transforming donors into fundraisers and evangelists is typically not high on the scale of importance.

However, if nonprofits could focus more time on taking their donors and nurturing them to expand into the role of a fundraiser, they’d see more success at furthering their mission and developing a long-lasting relationship with those who are already supporting their cause.

The scarcity theory

Scarcity is the condition of having insufficient resources to cope with demands. And if you’re someone who works at a nonprofit, the idea of scarcity most likely rings all too true.

With an always-growing list of tasks and goals, yet limited staffing and resources to accomplish them all, certain priority items are bound to fall by the wayside. According to one study, scarcity can result in clouded judgement and impulsive behavior, causing individuals to prioritize short-term wins over long-term gains.inBlog_1_overwhelmedThink about it this way: You’ve got tasks you need to get done to manage your upcoming event, have to also focus on grant writing, and are leading the charge on landing large returning gifts. With all of these goals and projects needing attention, turning donors that are organically or systematically coming to your charity into fundraisers or evangelists may not seem worth prioritizing. After all, these supporters are already showing they care with their pocketbooks. Why shift in focus to ask them to do even more? Why mess with a good thing, when you could put more time into getting new legacy donors or recurring gift donors?

But investing in the long-term, personal support of fundraisers can actually bring benefits that stand-alone donors could never offer on their own.

Where are all of these fundraisers?

Simply maintaining donor behavior and not attempting to identify those that would do more could be a missed opportunity for any nonprofit — big or small. Most likely there are supporters in your community who are giving, but could also be waiting to learn about other ways they can help your cause.

These potential fundraisers may just need a boost and a little information to know what to do next and why they should take that next step. When you can take a $30 donor and turn them into a $300 fundraiser, you’ve really changed the game. It’s almost magical.inBlog_2_TimelineSupporters who start their own fundraiser for your cause are letting the world know what they care about in a way that’s personal to them. It allows them to go a step further in a more personally satisfying way. Instead of their interaction with your cause starting and ending with typing in their credit card number, now, as a fundraiser, they’re an extension of your team.

If nurtured and shown immense appreciation, these fundraisers could come back year after year to show the world why your cause means so much to them, and even turn friends and family into supporters and repeat donors for your cause.

Why the investment is so worthwhile

Turning donors into fundraisers is all about creating a grassroots growth of new donors.

Having your story told by a fundraiser to their personal network brings all kinds of value to an organization. Not only are you getting your message in front of people that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to, but the awareness created through the process of social fundraising means your mission and impact story will reach further than your supporters who already subscribe.

An untapped networkinBlog_3_MegaphoneWhen it comes to their own network, your supporters voices are louder and larger than yours. When they share with their friends and family that they’ve started a fundraising campaign for your cause, they’re showing their personal connection to your nonprofit in a way that’s unique to them.

They’re talking in the most authentic way to a group that already trusts them and is interested in what they have to say. And this leads to more donors, more dollars raised, and more awareness brought to your cause.

Brand awareness as added value

inBlog_4_AuthenticityHaving an authentic voice advocating for your cause also allows your brand to shine in the best light. Instead of it feeling like an advertisement or a ‘hard sell’ from an organization wanting money, it’s a much softer approach that’s more welcome to this new group of potential supporters.

When your fundraisers act as a brand ambassador, it’s the best possible opportunity you’ll have to get their friends and family to give.

Social sharing at its finestinBlog_5_PowerofShare_v3It’s no secret that we’re big believers in the power of social fundraising. And donors that turn into fundraisers have some of the biggest social fundraising impact out there.

When a supporter starts a fundraising campaign optimized for social sharing, the impact can go ever further. We found that, on average, a donor who shared their donation on social brought in another $15 to the campaign through their share. And, anyone who visits a campaign and shares it — even if they don’t make a donation — brings in, on average, $13 per share.

divider-generic-v4Fundraisers have the potential to be huge advocates and influencers for your cause. Taking the time to encourage, nurture, and share your appreciation with your donors gives them the opportunity to take that next step and have a larger impact on your cause.

Want to learn more about how CrowdRise can help your nonprofit stay fundraising first?

Gary Wohlfeill

Gary Wohlfeill is the Director of Marketing at CrowdRise. He works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns, and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand. Gary has been named as having the “3rd best haircut of people under 6 feet tall at CrowdRise" and hopes one day to slip to 4th.