Startups and for-profit companies test new products with early adopters before releasing them to the larger market. Once the product is ready, these individuals help build excitement and spread the word to their networks.
Nonprofits have early adopters too, especially when it comes to fundraising. This first wave of fundraisers helps peer-to-peer campaigns gain momentum. Once the campaign is opened up to the general public, it has a solid base upon which it can build. You just need to identify these early fundraising adopters and proactively bring them into the fold.
Who Are My Early Adopters?
These are the people who are mostly likely to get behind your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, create fundraising pages, and get the word out to their friends and family. In short, your early adopters are your biggest advocates.
They can include:
- Passionate volunteers – Your loyal volunteers are some of your most dedicated supporters. These are the people who take their support offline to make sure your events are as smooth and successful as possible. They donate their time to bolster your initiatives and operations. Considering their strong connection to your mission, your volunteers could be quick to help your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign get off the ground.
- Annual donors – Recruit your consistent donors to raise more money than they might be able to give on their own. Using your constituent relationship management system (CRM), identify the supporters who have donated several times to your organization. You can focus on donors who’ve given to the particular program that you’re raising funds for. They might be more willing to go the extra step for something you know they already care about.
- Social media evangelists – These supporters frequently share your content and have a relatively large number of friends compared to your average social media follower. To identify these social media influencers, ask the staffer who manages your social media accounts to take note of who shares your content most frequently. Build this list of social media evangelists over time. You can also check your followers and add those who have the highest number of contacts to your list.
When and How Do I Recruit Them?
In order to leverage your early adopters as drivers of your peer-to-peer fundraising success, you should reach out to them before you open your campaign to your full audience. Do this by splitting your campaign launch into two phases: your soft launch and your hard launch.
Your soft launch is a one- to two-week period during which you recruit your core supporters to start fundraising before your public hard launch. By recruiting your early adopters beforehand, you can build initial campaign momentum that will encourage others to get onboard later on. When others see that early adopters have validated your mission and campaign, they will be more willing to get involved.
During your soft launch, reach out personally to your core supporters. Keyword: personally. Through a phone call or personalized email, let them know they were among the first people you thought of to help drive your campaign to success. Make them feel special by communicating they are part of your “inner circle.” Then ask them to create personal fundraising pages to jumpstart your campaign progress.
Also prepare some compelling content for your early adopters to promote during your hard launch. You can provide photos, infographics, powerful stats, and especially a campaign video that captures the importance of your work and cause. When you open your campaign to your full audience, send them the first piece of content to push out to their networks and help spread the word.
How Do I Get Them Up and Running?
As your first fundraisers get started, you should work closely with them to provide the tools and encouragement necessary to succeed. To start, provide them with a fundraising tips sheet to help navigate their personal campaigns. To save time and effort, download this customizable template, add your logo and campaign-specific details, and send it out to your fundraisers.Get Your Customizable Fundraising Tips Sheet
You should work closely with this first group of fundraisers to help ensure their success. Consider scheduling personal phone meetings, or organize a webinar Q&A so multiple fundraisers can tune in and ask questions. They should feel like they have everything they need to succeed.
Ask for Feedback
For startups, one of the most valuable things about having early adopters is that they provide candid feedback on product quality. Tap your community of early fundraisers for this same benefit.
As your campaign progresses, keep a two-way line of communication with your supporters. Ask for feedback on which fundraising services and resources are helpful, and which can use some improvement. Surveys are a great way to collect a bunch of responses quickly. With this insight, you can learn how to best support your entire fundraising community moving forward.
In order to steer your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to success, you need a base of early fundraisers to help get it off the ground. By implementing this soft launch tactic, you can build the momentum that will push your entire campaign all the way to the finish line. Reach out to your early adopters to build initial progress, gather their feedback, and harness your full peer-to-peer fundraising potential.