Online Ambassador Incentives that Work

Most organizations and institutions recognize the impact online ambassadors have on fundraising. I mean, how couldn’t they? Whether it’s a new donor acquisition drive, ensuring online giving day success, or engaging major donors, a well-run online ambassador program is one of the most effective tactics fundraisers can deploy.

Of course, the devil is often in the details.

While many ambassador program achieve amazing results, others flounder. There are many factors behind online ambassador program success and one key component is determining what inspires your ambassadors to frequently and enthusiastically share your message.

During their 2016 online giving day, fundraisers at Texas Christian University discovered something interesting about what drove their ambassadors to share. While a significant number of valuable prizes were offered, it was the knowledge that their sharing activity was making a impact that seemed to provide the most incentive for online ambassadors.

TCU’s Director of Constituent Engagement Elyse Menger has more in the video below:

To be clear, different tactics often drive different results for different fundraising organizations. That said, if impact messaging inspires donors then the same is likely true of ambassadors. It certainly was for TCU during their giving day.

And to be clear, this is a crucially important issue. According to a Blackbaud review of their peer-to-peer fundraising software, 1 in 4 ambassador solicitations lead a gift. That’s compared to 1 in 1,250 official emails from an organization that lead to a gift.

That’s a 25 percent conversion rate for ambassadors compared with a .08 conversion rate for institutional email.

How are you inspiring your donors to share your message enthusiastically? (You do have ambassadors, right?) If you would like to explore building or expanding an online ambassador program, email me at

Groundwork Digital