Online Ambassadors Exponentially Increase a Nonprofit's Reach


During a recent conference, our friends at Texas Christian University shared an incredible stat - 1 in 4 emails from online ambassadors led to a fundraising gift. That is compared to 1 in 1,250 when the email comes from the organization.

To put it another way, online ambassador emails have a staggering 25 percent gift conversion rate while institutional emails have a paltry .08 percent conversion rate.

So yeah, you need a strong ambassador program if you want to compete for your donors' dollars. 

In the video below, Groundwork Co-Founder Justin Ware breaks down the basic elements of effective ambassador programs:

Great content, a strategy and technology to find your most effective ambassadors, an incentives plan to keep those ambassadors engaged and sharing ... there is a lot to consider when it comes to building online ambassador programs. Here are a few tips:

  • Dedicate resources to the effort - An online ambassador program is a volunteer program. You want a person to dedicate a substantial amount of time to building relationships with the ambassadors. This person should also know how to track and analyze data to improve the ambassador program over time. Basically, you need an experienced social media manager with volunteer management experience to run your program.

  • Consider technology - For increasingly reasonable amounts of money (roughly $1500), you can find technology that will scan your entire email database and tell you who the ambassadors are within that list. This saves valuable staff time and is almost always far more fruitful than manually scouring a list and searching against LinkedIn and Twitter. Considering the impact ambassadors have, it could end up being the best $1500 you spend all year.

  • Give them great content to share! With today's online-driven landscape, great content is imperative. It, too, requires resources, but ambassadors are going to be far more likely to share content that inspires them. And if you can, go with video. A Google study found that 57 percent of people who watch a YouTube video from a nonprofit will go on to eventually make a gift to that same nonprofit. That, combined with the ambassador email conversion rate, and you basically have an impossible-to-ignore fundraising solicitation.

Are you ready to build or expand an online ambassador program? No one has more experience helping fundraising organizations develop effective ambassador strategies than Groundwork Digital. Email us at to learn how we can help.

Groundwork Digital