In my previous posts, I shared how NEXT Worldwide and AIDS Arms encourage their participants to use centralized fundraising tools, but how do you know if your participants are using these tools?

Individuals who personalize their fundraising pages and use online tools raise six times more funds than those who do not. Ease-of-use plays an important role in participants raising more online as well. Each time a participant uses online tools to send an email, post a link to their Facebook page or update their fundraising page, your organization has an opportunity to connect with them about their efforts, your mission and the impact they are making.

While it is advised to review event metrics after an event, it may be beneficial to review some fundraiser participation while the fundraising is actually happening. Many peer-to-peer fundraising solutions offer a way for the development team to track the usage of online tools by their participants.

Are your participants personalizing their fundraising page with their own story and image? Sending emails? Sharing their fundraising page on their social media sites? If the reporting reveals these tools are being underutilized, then it may be advantageous to reconsider how your organization is currently messaging these online tools. Ask yourself, are there additional ways to spread the word or provide instructions on how your fundraisers can be using these tools?

There are some easy things that can be accomplished to coach your fundraisers , therefore making sure they have the information they need to enhance their fundraising experience:

Email Helpful Tips
Enhance your communication plan with helpful tips on how to use those fundraising tools you are providing them. Consider setting up recurring emails that participants receive throughout the fundraising campaign. Be sure to make the messaging short and sweet, and focus on one online fundraising task at a time. One email can encourage them to personalize their fundraising page, while another can remind them that email templates are available for their use, and another can guide them on how to easily post their page to their social media sites.

Lead By Example
On your event or organization’s Facebook and Twitter sites feature some of your top fundraisers who have personalized their fundraising pages by linking directly to their personal or team pages. Consider featuring top participants in an email and showcase a screen shot of their personalized page for those who may not be on the social network arena.

Offer Helpful Guides
Create a quick start guide and make it available on the fundraising website. Valencia College Foundation who just launched their firstONE campaign, uploaded a PDF Help Guide and created a custom page with fundraising tips so this information would be readily available to their fundraisers.

While reviewing your participant activity, keep in mind that participants may be sending emails and posting to their Facebook and Twitter sites, but not performing those tasks through your event site. And while you can’t really determine this by running a report, consider including a section asking them to share their fundraising experience in the post event survey.  For example:

  • Did you send emails through the fundraising site to solicit gifts or did you use your own email?
  • How often did you post a link to your fundraising page on a social media site (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?
  • How would you rate the online fundraising tools in terms of ease-of-use?(“extremely difficult”) to ten (“extremely easy”)

Also consider asking what the organization could do to make fundraising easier. Surveying participants after your event is over will assist in preparing for following year.

Do you have tips to ensure that your fundraisers are engaged and successfully using the online tools you provide? Please mention them in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a Blackbaud consultant, Jennifer Peters combines her knowledge and nonprofit experience to help customers maximize their fundraising potential with Blackbaud Sphere’s Friends Asking Friends. Jennifer loves seeing her client’s peer-to-peer fundraising websites move from thought to fruition. Her day to day activities allow her to work with a variety of organizations to build their online fundraising site while guiding them with best practices along the way.

Prior to joining Blackbaud, Jennifer served the nonprofit sector through various development and communication roles with non-profit organizations such as Project Medishare for Haiti, Drug Prevention Resources, Inc., Alley’s House and The Mended Hearts, Inc. Her background consists of event planning, peer-to-peer fundraising and eMarketing.

When she’s not working, Jennifer can be found either walking her three dogs, hiking/kayaking/biking around White Rock Lake or traveling to satisfy her wanderluster soul.

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