Do you remember how you felt during your ‘first’s’?  The first time you got behind the wheel in Driver’s Ed class?  The first time you rode your bicycle without training wheels?  The first time you jumped in the pool with no life vest?  I bet you were nervous, slightly scared, and wondering if you would succeed.

Fast forward… you probably do these things now with confidence and ease and almost take your expertise for granted. That you have forgotten at one point in your life you were not a good swimmer or a good driver.  But, however long ago it was, you knew you wanted to learn, you wanted to succeed, you wanted to conquer learning those challenges.  And more than likely, you reached out to a parent, a teacher, a coach to help you learn how to do these things and hopefully inspired you to be awesome at it.

So, how are you setting up your first-timer fundraisers for success?  How should you get these group of newbies comfortable and acquainted with the information and tools you have shared with them after they signed up for your event?  It can be overwhelming and daunting for them… and for you and the organization, too.  So, let’s break it down.

Step 1:  Get your participants to access their online fundraising tools

For today, let’s focus on Step 1: Get your participants to log in to their online fundraising tools.  For TeamRaiser and Friends Asking Friends users, these tools are located in the Participant Center or Fundraising Headquarters.  It’s to be expected that first-time participants may be hesitant to immediately jump into the online fundraising tools after completing the registration process.  So, it’s extremely important that we make these online fundraising tools easy to find and easy to access. Be sure to  explain how and why they should be fundraising for your event.  Here’s an example…

   Here’s a sneak peak of what you can do in your <Event Name>’s  Participant Center…

  •     Personalize your fundraising page with a photo and a personal story of why you are helping with our cause!
  •     Find pre-written emails you can send to friends & family to request donations. And yes, you can send these emails directly from your participant center!
  •     Include a link to your fundraising page from your Facebook page

Check out your personalized Participant Center NOW, so you can be on your way to helping us succeed in our mission!  And let us know if you need help along the way!

Include this call-to-action everywhere

Where and  how you promote this content to newbies is also very key.  You need to hit them up at all angles and include the above messaging everywhere you are talking to your first-timers.  This could include:

  • Thank you for registering email (also known as the autoresponder email sent immediately after completing the registration process)
  • Coaching Emails (email series sent prior to the event)
  • Printed materials like event kits, fundraising tip flyers, etc.
  • Fundraising workshops/seminars

Now, one may think this is going overboard with all the hand-holding, but hey… didn’t someone hold your hand when you were attempting to take your first step?  And eventually, after you got the hang of walking, you let go.

How do you communicate with your first-time participants?  I would love to hear your ideas, so please share.

In my next post, I’ll share some tips on how to help first-timer fundraisers understand how to use their Participant Center.

And one more thing: I’d like to say thanks for reading this blog post as this was my first blog post (seriously), and I’d like to thank my good friends and fellow bloggers Robyn and  Nancy for holding my hand!!

Interested in learning more fundraising best practices?  Download the our free eBook: NPExperts: Fundraising Ideas and Marketing Insights for Nonprofits.


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deepa Karani, a senior solutions consultant at Blackbaud, consults with organizations to grow their peer-to-peer fundraising programs using Blackbaud strategy and technical solutions.  She has 13 years of experience in fundraising, event management, and volunteer management in the nonprofit sector. Prior to Blackbaud, Deepa served as a national consultant for the American Heart Association and propelled one of the largest national youth service programs to online fundraising success by driving fundraising best practices with the premier technology solution, TeamRaiser.  She has a Masters of Business Administration degree from University of Texas at Dallas and works remotely from her home office in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas.

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