By Brandi McGrath Kong, Director of Member Services & Conferences
Sales is built on the power of word-of-mouth marketing, and nonprofit membership is no different. Our Sertoma clubs rely on their members to spread the word about the amazing things that they are doing in their local communities. Today, we’ll explore why you should formalize these efforts into an ambassador program that can help sustain and grow your club.
Influencer marketing has become an important means of reaching people of all ages in recent years, particularly younger generations. Ambassador programs can work much like your favorite YouTube or TikTok star sharing their favorite product or promoting a new service. We follow these individuals and have come to trust and admire them.
Your members likely have that same clout in your community. They are leaders in business and service, responsible for impacting the lives of others every single day. When we help our members begin to see themselves as ambassadors for our clubs, we can leverage them into the very best advocates for joining and staying with our organization.
Ambassador Program Considerations:
- Put together the information that you will need to give your ambassadors once you have them in place. This can include things like presentations on how to do an elevator speech or how to tell their Sertoma story (Sertoma has free videos on these topics in our Training Library). You’ll also want to have membership handouts, talking points and perhaps even other testimonials on hand to share with your volunteers.
- Make sure that your messaging is consistent. Nonprofit strategist Emily Hendershot notes in a recent blog for Naylor Association Solutions that we want to “make it easy for people to repeat who you are and what you do by highlighting your ideal messages often.” This includes making sure that your website, social media, branding, mission statement, etc. all reflect the same things and that they do it well.
- Email your members to ask them to sign up to become ambassadors. Give them the time to think about it without the pressure of asking face-to-face if you are unsure that they would be willing. The program will not succeed if your volunteers are not dedicated to the cause.
- Find ways to incentivize their efforts. MemberClicks, a membership management software provider, suggests starting simple by rewarding ambassadors for sharing your messages on social media. Ask them to tag your club and/or use a specific hashtag so that you can track it. Then, you can assign points to reward them for their work and offer prizes when they reach a certain level. It can be a free lunch, a gift card from a sponsor, a special perk in the club like preferred parking or anything else you can imagine.
- Find ways to sneak ambassador training into your onboarding. Whether it is your new member orientation or welcoming new people to your board, this can be the perfect time to share talking points about club membership. With your board and other long-term volunteers, you can have them practice their pitch. With new members, it might be better to capture their testimonial about why they joined and ask them to share it with others as a way to build your club’s membership. After all, Sertomans want to give back, and the more people we get into our club, the greater our impact can be.
As Hendershot wrote, “Members are influential, often untapped, resources who help advance visibility.” How can your club make the most of your most powerful resources – your amazing members?