According to a recent Nielsen study on which types of advertising or promotion people trust most, the top five in North America are:
- Recommendations from someone they know.
- Consumer opinions posted online.
- Editorial content such as newspaper articles.
- Emails they signed up for.
- Branded websites.
In other words, if you want someone to know and trust your organization your best bet is having someone they know post something about your org online. Let that sink in for a second and then ask yourself, “do we have a plan for encouraging our more active online followers to talk about us online?” In other words, do you have an online ambassador program? Components of a good ambassador program include:
- Ongoing identification of potential ambassadors for both awareness building and fundraising initiatives.
- Stewardship of those potential and approved ambassadors through good content and smart online conversation management.
- A plan for contacting potential ambassadors and officially bringing them into the program.
- A strategy for leveraging the support of your ambassadors.
We continue to see more examples of this approach leading to fundraising success. Two of our favorite examples are Florida State’s Great Give and Columbia’s more recent Giving Day. Both campaigns had a heavy reliance on some form of an online ambassador program. Simply put, a robust ambassador program could be the most important thing your nonprofit can do from a communications standpoint. So good luck building your program! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.