Over the past several years, much has been written about the rise of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Fundraising. However, with end-of-year fundraising quickly approaching, a new flavor of peer-to-peer fundraising is becoming more popular: using social ambassadors to amplify traditional online campaigns.

What are Social Ambassadors?

Social ambassadors are constituents who agree to help spread the word about your campaigns. They are active on one or more social networks (who isn’t, right?) – and may use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, or something else. Ambassadors may be donors, volunteers, event attendees, subscribers, board members, employees, or socially influential constituents you’ve identified.

Another Flavor of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

If this sounds familiar, it is.

You could say social ambassadors are another flavor of peer-to-peer fundraising, minus the fundraising page.

Nowadays, peer-to-peer fundraisers are relying on email less and social media more. The more you remove friction (complete form, insert photo, add a story) with social media promotion, the easier fundraising becomes! Sure, social ambassadors lack the symbolic commitment that peer-to-peer fundraisers make by registering, setting a goal, and having a page, but social ambassadors aren’t replacing those event/DIY fundraisers. Instead, they’re adding P2P fundraising to traditional online appeal campaigns.

Social Ambassador Success Stories

In the past 4-5 years, social ambassadors have played a key role in seven-figure higher education online campaigns – especially around giving days. Universities turned their alumni into social ambassadors by identifying, organizing, and cultivating them ahead of time. When the campaign began, ambassadors were sent sample Facebook posts, tweets, and other messages to share. Universities kept them updated on the campaign’s progress and encouraged competition. In other words, they made it easy and engaging to be an ambassador.


Other nonprofits are also leveraging social ambassador programs. For example, the American Red Cross created a social ambassador program ahead of their inaugural #allin1day giving day on June 2, 2015. Together, with other multi-channel efforts, ambassadors helped raise $2.4 million that first year. Another $2.5 million was raised in 2016. The American Red Cross has strategically activated ambassadors at other times of the year too. Social ambassadors were part of ARC’s “10 Days of Giving Back” GivingTuesday campaign. Last week, they also asked ambassadors to share a video on Louisianna’s flooding.

Starting a Social Ambassador Program

With end-of-year fundraising just around the corner, now is the time to create a social ambassador program. While you may not have them ready for GivingTuesday, they could be part of your December campaign.

How do you start a social ambassador program? This blog post offers a good blueprint, while the accompanying free guide “How to Identify and Engage Your Influencers” provides more in-depth tips.

Need more help with EOY fundraising? Blackbaud’s new End-of-Year Fundraising Toolkit helps plan each stage of your EOY campaign, and the free Turn Up Your Tuesday #GivingTuesday webinar series runs through early November.

EOY Fundraising Toolkit


Mike Snusz brings over 11+ years of nonprofit experience to his role as a principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud. He focuses on helping nonprofits create online fundraising, email, P2P, social media, SEO, analytics and website optimization strategies to maximize giving opportunities. Mike previously managed the turnaround of the Ride For Roswell, including the event’s growth from $330,000 to $1.2 million over a three-year period. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn and Twitter at @mikesnusz. To learn how Mike can help your organization’s next fundraising campaign, contact him at mike.snusz@blackbaud.com.

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