Posted on 04/22/2015
- by Dan Allenby
When the annual giving team at UMass was preparing to launch their first Giving Day in 2013 – UMass Gives – they knew they’d need help spreading the word. So they created a new role for volunteers called “online ambassadors.” Their mission (if they chose to accept it) was to post and share content about the Giving Day through their social networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) leading up to and during the event. They were specifically encouraged to use the #UMassGives hashtag, post pictures, and share their feelings about philanthropy and why the university matters to them.
To identify potential volunteers they compiled a list of past telefund callers, past senior class gift committee members, new young alumni donors, and any alumni who were especially active on social media. Then they sent them an email inviting them to become an online ambassador. In the first year, they were able to recruit 140 ambassadors.
“Our first Giving Day was a great success,” said Nathan Adams, Director of Annual Giving at UMass Amherst. “We raised over $85,000 and received over 1,500 gifts. However, we didn’t want our new ambassadors to sit around with nothing to do for 11 months waiting for the next Giving Day. So we’ve continued to send them emails each month with news updates about the university that they can share. We’re careful that not all of the news updates are related to fundraising and giving.”
With a third Giving Day planned this month, UMass’s online ambassador program continues to grow. “We’ve already recruited over 200 ambassadors,” said Adams. “This year we’re sending them all special Giving Day T-Shirts and asking them to take selfie pictures to post online. We’re expecting it to be another great day for the university.”
Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Engaging Volunteers Online.