How to Retain Online, Crowdfunding-Acquired Donors

Returning crowdfunders perform 2x better than their first campaigns

Returning crowdfunders perform 2x better than their first campaigns

How do you retain crowdfunding-acquired donors? By retaining the crowdfunders whose online campaigns acquired all those peer-to-peer gifts.

Peer-to-peer fundraisers (the people who set up and drive crowdfunding campaigns) perform more than twice as well the second time they launch a campaign as compared to their first campaign. According to Classy, second campaigns raise 126 percent more than the fundraiser’s first crowdfunding project.

So how do you encourage repeat crowdfunding campaigns from your volunteer online fundraisers? Two things…

  • Build a robust online ambassador program that includes managing your top influencers the same way you would manage a portfolio of leadership or major donors.

  • Produce content featuring those ambassadors, with the intention of the ambassadors sharing that content. And make it video.

Online Ambassadors 2.0

A decade ago, when I was launching my first online ambassador programs for nonprofit fundraising, it was easy. Send an email with posts for Twitter and Facebook, ask the recipient to copy those posts and paste them in their social media accounts, then share with their networks. It worked extraordinarily well. So well, that pretty much every savvy nonprofit and for-profit brand in the world started doing the same thing. The ensuing burnout, coupled with increasingly poor email performance, turned our supporters away from this concept and greatly diminished return.

So now, just like everything else, we have to expend extra effort for peer-to-peer results. But if we put in the effort, the results are phenomenal.

First, find your strongest online ambassadors. This includes two categories of supporters – hyper influencers (those with enormous social media followings) and digitally engaged leadership annual and major gift donors. Then, task a person or team of people with managing these top-tier ambassadors. A new role that’s perfect for managing this work is the Digital Development Officer – a new position being added to organizations around the world.

Next, build online campaigns that feature these top ambassadors. The campaigns should strategically align with your top priorities and mutually with the top priorities of the ambassador or ambassadors featured. (The key is enthusiasm. If the ambassador’s priorities match yours, the ambassador is far more likely to drive the campaign’s success with their sharing behavior) Tell the story of the funding opportunity through the eyes of the ambassadors. Why do they feel so passionately about giving? Capture that in the ambassador-led micro campaigns and then coach the ambassador(s) to share their micro campaigns with their networks. 

As you build the campaigns, always produce video to support them. Nothing converts prospects to donors like video. Additionally, the featured ambassador LOVES being the star of a video show. For example, see this recent quote from one of the major donor ambassadors a Groundwork partner featured in a video micro campaign:

“Wow! It’s so well done! I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I am so deeply grateful… Honestly, a big honor! … P.S. can’t wait for my sister to see it!”

Even if you don’t raise a dollar through a micro campaign, simply giving the ambassador the red-carpet treatment is a cultivation or stewardship move that pays huge dividends.

And, of course, if the donor/ambassador had a wonderful experience, they will be back for future campaigns. As noted above, those second campaigns outperform the first campaign by 126 percent, on average. Since many of the donors who gave to the first campaign will come back a second time to support their friend’s new campaign, you have now figured out how to retain crowdfunding-acquired donors.

Like what you just read? Groundwork Digital builds online fundraising programs for retention and acquisition of donors at all levels. Email me at and we’ll set up a time for a free phone consultation.