This post originally appeared in 2013.
As fundraising evolves from big donors to big networks, it’s clear that the value of your top fundraisers will continue to grow. We’re seeing that organizations that give special treatment to their most successful fundraisers get more benefits in awareness, participation and donations. We checked in with organizations using our DonorDrive Peer-to-Peer Fundraising software that reward their participants. Here’s what they suggest:
Track their success
Andrew Valainis of Climate Ride feels personal contact here really pays off:
I set up DonorDrive notifications to email me when riders hit $500, $1,200, $2,400, $3,000, $4,000 and $5,000. Then I send a personal email. It’s from a template, but I customize it based on my past conversations with the participant and other information of theirs.
In DonorDrive, you can set up a notification for when participants hit their goals.
Acknowledge their success
If your software supports achievement badges, make sure you set these up. DonorDrive offers these for individual goals and team achievements. These don’t cost the organization anything and helps to drive competition and a sense of success within the event’s community.
Give them a shout-out over social media
While it may seem like a small thing to thank participants over social media, all their friends and family see it. It may even generate more donations.
Create a special status
A top performers’ club not only gives these participants recognition, it encourages others to want to become members. How many of your fundraisers raise over $1,000? How many more would if you set a minimum goal for club entry? Andrew at Climate Ride notes:
We acknowledge our top riders in our Fundraising Hall of Fame.
Use incentive prizes
Some of your participants thrive on these. Jessica Van Der Stad, Area Director at AFSP feels keepsakes don’t have to be big.
Most of those are our own branded merchandise: T-shirts, cups, etc.
Give them wearable recognition
Give top fundraisers swag that makes them stand out from the crowd. Climate Ride awards a Green Jersey to the top 10 fundraisers. Andrew:
We also hand out buttons to riders who raise $3,000, $4,000,
$5,000 or $10,000.
Treat them like royalty
Even simple things, like an appreciation dinner, VIP parking at events, placement at the front of pack or a gift basket lets everyone at the event know the top fundraisers accomplishment and helps inspire others to improve their fundraising.
Showing appreciation to these participants can encourage them to raise more to maintain their top status next year. Beyond that, it will create proud ambassadors for your organization. These are the people who become evangelists for your event, driving more to participate and striving to raise more next year.