A few weeks back, I kicked off my blog series on how to coach your first-time fundraisers towards success. I highlighted important tips on the first step of getting your participants to access their fundraising tools. Today, we’re going to talk about the second step – coaching your participants on how to use their fundraising tools to make them rock star fundraisers for your organization.

Step 2: Teach your newbie fundraisers how to use their online tools

Whether you are using TeamRaiser or Friends Asking Friends to power your event fundraising, both of these peer-to-peer solutions come with valuable tools that organizations should invest time in educating participants on, particularly the newbie participants. It can be slightly overwhelming for first-time event participants when logging into your event’s fundraising portal initially. In TeamRaiser, these fundraising tools are found in Participant Center and for Friends Asking Friends, they are located in Fundraising Headquarters.

So, what tools should you make sure to spotlight?

  1. Personal web page: Presenting your participants a personal web page template that can be personalized with their own photo, video and other cool widgets should not be underscored. While it is a best practice for organizations to include default web page content and photo, organizations should make it a point to educate participants to replace or add to the webpage content with a personal story and picture, so it reflects their individualism and personality. It’s a key tool to leverage to help them connect with their prospective donors. For brand new team captains, be sure to shine light on the Team web page they can personalize to drive not only fundraising, but drive recruitment efforts for folks to join their team.
  2. Email tool: To have an email engine that resides within your event fundraising platform is extremely powerful and allows your participants to do everything they need to fundraise and thank donors within a single place. Your newbies need to understand that. Organizations should educate participants on the suggested email templates available that they can send out to ask for donations and to thank those who have donated. And make sure, your newbies understand that a link to their personal web page will automatically be included in the email stationary so donors can click on the link to read their story and be inspired to donate.
  3. Social sharing: We live in an era when social media is driving how people communicate with their network, so it’s important for organizations to shine the light on how social sharing is integrated with your peer-to-peer solution. Both TeamRaiser and Friends Asking Friends include social sharing tools that participants can take advantage of to link to preferred social sites to their personal fundraising pages.
  4. Fundraising Progress tool: While not necessarily the most immediate item to train your participants on, it is still important, to orient them on where their fundraising progress is tracked and donation reports they can download within Participant Center and Fundraising Headquarters. This is especially important for organizations that require participants to submit out donation reports as part of their event participation.
  5. Bonus stuff: If your organization offers tools beyond what is listed above and/or fundraising kits that live outside your event management tool, you need to spotlight those also!

So, now that you know what tools you need to educate on, where and how do you bring all this to the attention of your newbies? Similar to what I shared in my earlier post, you need to hit them up at all angles, and include such messaging, and perhaps video tutorials, everywhere you are talking to your first-timers. This includes…

  • Welcome/Home page within Participant Center and Fundraising Headquarters…this is the first page your participants will see once they login. Be direct and concise with tailored messaging and visuals you include in the available content area with informing your participants on all that is available and what they should do first, second, and so on.
  • Autoresponder Emails (emails sent after participant registers)
  • Coaching Emails (email series sent prior to the event)
  • Printed materials like event kits, fundraising tip flyers, etc
  • Fundraising workshops/seminars

There is no better coach than you to help your first-time event participants to succeed. I hope you take these lessons to heart and apply them.

In my next blog, I’ll share tips on how to keep the momentum high with your first-timer fundraisers in the months and weeks leading up to event time
For more on coaching fundraising participants consider these resources:

Robyn Mendez discusses leveraging a social media fundraising strategy in Social Fundraising: Expanding Beyond the Fundraising Event.

Jennifer Peters shares tips on Third Party Fundraising Helps NEXT Worldwide “Live the Mission”.

Nancy Palo discusses the importance of saying thank you and shares ideas on how in Saying Thank You in Peer-to-Peer Event Fundraising.

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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