Nonprofits all over the world have supporters of their mission. Whether they are donors, volunteers or members, these individuals truly believe in the work your organization does for your community.

Why, then, is it so difficult for nonprofit organizations to transform supporters into advocates who spread the news about their mission, engage with their network and attract more donors and volunteers?

More often than not, it’s because nonprofits don’t ask their supporters to become advocates of their cause. Over the last year, which featured Firespringers meeting with over 120 nonprofits across the globe, we discovered there were three main reasons why nonprofits don’t ask for advocacy.

  1. They don’t want to pester or annoy their top donors or volunteers.
  2. They assume that those people are already acting as advocates for their cause.
  3. They aren’t sure what to ask their donors to do or how to get them involved more.

Chances are, if you’re in a fundraising or marketing seat at a nonprofit, you’ve shared these sentiments over the last year. Advocacy among brands was always a pertinent and hot-button topic, but the impact of the pandemic heightened the need for (and difficulty of) advocacy.

Transform supporters into advocates.

Advocacy can mean many things, but in general, it refers to taking action. Advocacy simply involves speaking and acting on behalf of your organization. Though it can seem overwhelming, it’s actually incredibly simple. All you need is for individuals to care about your nonprofit’s mission.

Now that we’ve identified the need and simplified the process of advocacy, here are three tactics to implement into your advocacy framework that your nonprofit can use internally and externally right away.

1. The Assets

Too often, your supporters aren’t sharing things about your organization on social media or with their network because they don’t know what to share. It’s essential that you craft the messaging and even the graphics that you want your audience to spread in your community. This can include creating social media posts, emails, flyers or even palm cards for your audience to utilize.

When it comes to these assets, load them up with value so your audience wants to share them with their network. Focus on the problems that your organization solves and the results that you create within the community. This is the type of message that will be successful within your advocacy toolkit.

Now that you have your assets created, place them in a shared folder that all of your donors or supporters can access at any time. An efficient way to do this is to offer this shared folder in your thank-you email following a donation or with someone joining your mailing list. That way, from the beginning of your relationship, they know that you are looking for more followers and need advocates to help!

P.S. A great asset that your supporters will love is a Facebook profile frame with your brand’s logo or a Facebook header photo that calls them out as “Advocates” of your cause.

2. The Micro-asks

When it comes to your donors and volunteers, we understand the hesitancy in reaching out to them more. What if it comes off as annoying or if they think we are pestering them? However, if an individual is passionate about your mission, and is willing to donate their time or money to your cause, it’s likely that these micro-asks will actually make them feel part of your team!

When organizations only reach out every quarter and ask for donations or volunteers, that’s when individual donors can be rubbed the wrong way. On the flip side, if we incorporate more value touchpoints with individual donors via micro-asks, you are actually inviting them to play a more impactful role in your organization.

These micro-asks can include: referring a friend, sharing a social post, forwarding on an email or even using the Facebook header image. A great way to implement these is to always include a micro-ask or a transitional call to action in all of your outreach.

3. The repetition

The best marketing and fundraising is really just an act of repetition. The more often you can provide value to your audience, remind them of the problem that your mission is out to solve and call them into action, the more successful you are going to be.

When a donor or volunteer sees your organization’s name, it’s imperative that they see an organization that they feel part of and that they associate your brand with value in the community. We want to avoid being thought of as a transactional brand in the eyes of our audience. The repetition of including them as advocates for your organization and part of the team will limit this line of thinking.

P.S. A great way to accomplish this is by giving individual donors a name or a tier that they belong to! Not all individual donors want to be called out by name, but by calling your individual donors “advocates” or “supporters,” it can go a long way.

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