7 tactics to motivate captains for better success in your peer-to-peer events
Nonprofits can’t afford to take event team captains for granted. Their value is huge: They recruit participants, motivate their team, and are likely to come back year-after-year. Through their teams, captains are responsible for helping bring in 10 times the dollars of the average event participant. Their contribution to a walk, run, ride or virtual event can be massive.
There are many ways you can engage your captains to deepen their commitment to your cause:
- Bring them into the fold. Captains are not just supporters, they’re the backbone of your peer-to-peer event. Make them feel like an insider by sharing things about the inner-workings of your nonprofit, like hiring a new walk assistant or the loss of a sponsor. Build trust by being open with them.
- Get them fully versed in your story. It’s likely they’re already an advocate, but do they really know your story? Explain your mission in depth so they have an understanding of what you do and why you’re doing it. Show them your work firsthand. Train them in your brand terminology and explain why you state the message that way. Before you release a video on social, give them a preview. The more you educate them, the better they can tell your story for you.
- Find potential captains. DonorDrive stats show captains raise about 27% of their team total and the top team member raises about 25%. Consider the top team member as a potential captain for starting their own team. Have a talk with the captain about “promoting” this team member to captain of their own team. If the current captain is in agreement, send a follow up email after the event asking them to become a captain next year. New captains bring in new participants.
- Mentor new captains. Since first-time captains have the potential to motivate their team to raise 10 times as much as an individual participant, they need to be welcomed and adequately trained. Bring in your most successful captains to address the group of new leaders. When they learn what’s possible from your top captains, they’re more likely to be more successful and live up to a higher expectation.
- Create a Captain’s Club. Your captains are likely involved with your nonprofit because they have a personal connection to the cause. Get your captains together regularly so they can meet and you can show your appreciation, cheer them on, and get them share success secrets with each other. They’re special to your nonprofit and your attention will make them feel special.
- Give captains the same treatment as your major donors. A captain can be responsible for as many dollars as a major donor. Differing from major donors, they’re likely to be responsible for even more money next year. Plus, they’ll introduce you to the donors they and their team bring in.
- If a captain doesn’t return, find out why. Losing the captain can mean you’ve lost their team. It’s always worth a call to find out why a leader isn’t back. They may lapse because they moved or have a conflict event day. Ask: Can they recommend someone else on the team to hand the reins over to? Can they still participate in their team virtually? Keeping them involved can keep their team together and fundraising.
Teams are more successful at fundraising when they have good leadership. By working to better your captains you’ll drive more revenue, get new donors, and improve retention for your events.