This post by Mike Ambassador Bruny and Dorie Clark first appeared at Forbes.
It’s great to write a check to your favorite charity. But – as in business – it’s even better to find ways to scale your impact. Raising money may sound daunting: How do I get started? Where do I find the time? But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five tips that Mike Ambassador Bruny – nicknamed because of his commitment to building connections – used to raise $10,000 in only eight weeks for charity: water, a non-profit focused on bringing clean water to developing countries.
Do Something Unique. Along with his friend Joel Louis, Mike created an innovative fundraising idea: a social media-thon over a 24 hour period using Google+ Hangouts. Attendees paid $45-$100 for the opportunity to join live Q & A sessions with notable entrepreneurs (including Chris Brogan, Pamela Slim, and 22 others). The event was livestreamed on YouTube and the campaign’s Facebook page, and the experts fielded a range of business and lifestyle questions, such as “How do I quit my job and build a location-independent business so I can travel the world?”
Build a Core Team. It’s essential to create a diverse team that can help you achieve your goal. Joel (who handled production on the Hangouts) and Mike (who liaised with the speakers) worked with six colleagues, including a web developer, a graphic designer, a volunteer coordinator, and a project manager, among others. As you’re building your team, think about the skills that will be needed to accomplish your project.
Cultivate Your Volunteers. Having a core group is essential, but it’s not enough. To ensure a broad reach, recruit a team of volunteers. The social media-thon team built a Facebook volunteer group for the project and ended up with 29 people who provided feedback and helped spread the word about the cause. It’s critical to engage them regularly and provide them with guidelines about what to post and how to ask their audiences to support the cause. To increase engagement, try to make the process turnkey for them.
Everyone’s In Sales. While the core team had individual responsibilities, it was everyone’s job to try to recruit donors. Of the 144 people who donated to the social media-thon, 90% were friends or acquaintances of the core group. You certainly want to promote your efforts widely via social media (particularly if your fundraiser has a social media theme), but the real results most often come from people in your existing network.
Give Thanks – Creatively. Of course it’s essential to thank your core team members, volunteers, and donors. But creative ways of expressing your gratitude can lead to even more visibility for the project. The social media-thon team thanked donors publicly each day on Facebook, gave them an e-book about entrepreneurship, and created a special logo they could display, touting their support for the cause. Mike also bought charity: water t-shirts for the core team, and fancy postcards for the speakers.
In 2014, why not do more for your favorite charity than just write a check? With these steps, it’s possible to raise $10,000 – or even more. What cause would you like to raise money for, and how are you planning to get started?
Mike Ambassador Bruny helps companies turn their workforce into a marketing force and helps individuals ignite their inner ambassador through his programs and presentations. Email him to learn more about his initiatives.
Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Learn more about her book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press) and follow her on Twitter.