Brand ambassadorship is the new wave taking over marketing. Let's face it, the media-savvy among us harbor a healthy skepticism of marketing pitches. But we're much more receptive to the opinions of our own friends, or friends of friends. When we see the passion in others, it's contagious. It drives us to action.
All brand ambassadors have one thing in common: They believe in the mission, goals, and values of the companies they represent, and they're willing to share it with others.
Nonprofits already have these ambassadors – they just may not know it yet. Anyone who knows who your organization is most likely already knows your mission, goals, and values. Convoy of Hope doesn't need to teach every employee, volunteer, or ambassador why it exists; these individuals work with the organization because they already believe in what it stands for.
These people – the employees, volunteers, board members, community advocates, etc. – are a nonprofit's mission ambassadors. They're out talking about the causes they support and the mission of the organization they belong to. They identify not with your brand, but with your mission. They're your mission ambassadors.
Who Can Be a Mission Ambassador?
The short answer: Anyone who believes in the overall mission of your organization – people who volunteer their time, sit on boards, donate money, attend events, and work to meet the same goal that your organization was created to meet.
While everyone can be a mission ambassador, there are three key groups that should be ambassadors: board members, employees, and volunteers.
Board Members: The people who sit on your nonprofit's board already embody the values, ideals, and goals of your organization. They have the connections to not only build your brand, but to help the people in their networks understand your purpose. They'll fill the tables at fundraising events and strengthen the relationship between your organization and other community members. They are the backbone of your nonprofit; it's through their outreach that you'll see a good amount of growth.
Employees: While employees may not have the extended networks of board members, they are inherently dedicated to the success of your nonprofit. They believe in your cause. They're the ones actively pushing your nonprofit on toward victory. Like board members, employees should embody the ideals of your nonprofit and they should be working towards the same goals. It's their passion, enthusiasm, and relentless dedication that will resonate with people.
Volunteers: A sometimes-overlooked group of ambassadors is your team of volunteers. These people show up to events and help out for no other reason than they believe in your cause (and that's incredible). When they have an amazing experience with your nonprofit, they won't be shy talking about it. To truly leverage these ambassadors, make sure they understand not just the goals you're working toward, but how the organization was founded and why it exists. Then, it's not just about the experience they had, but about the mission you're working toward, too.
What Are the Benefits of Brand Ambassadors?
Mission ambassadors personalize your nonprofit. They are able to emotionally connect with your donors and investors. They add value and, if properly educated, coherence to the meaning and purpose of your organization. They're the people who can turn one-time donors into lifelong investors. They help others see your vision.
In addition to facilitating conversation about why the cause needs financial investment, they'll also help cultivate a base of volunteers and supporters who will go on to do their own brand ambassadorship for your nonprofit – whether that's intentionally or just by bringing a water bottle or wearing a t-shirt with your logo on it.
How Can Mission Ambassadors Make a Difference?
- Social Media
Your mission ambassadors don't need 15,000 followers to make an impact. They just need to have an engaged group of people who are also willing to spread the word. Make it easy for ambassadors to quickly share information with their followers. Create images for them to share or a hashtag for your event that will prompt their engagement.
- Networking or Speaking Engagements
Not all of your ambassadors will feel comfortable sharing your content all the time. Let them share your message in a way that's most comfortable for them. Have them represent your nonprofit at networking or fundraising events, conferences, or wherever people are engaged. The more at ease they feel, the more successfully they'll be able to communicate your value.
- Blog Posts
Every month, approximately 60 million new blog posts are published, and 409 million people view 22 billion pages. Are any of your current ambassadors already blogging or interested in blogging? Would they link back to your website? Not only would this help increase your presence among their networks, but the linking will get Google's attention too.
Just as brand ambassadors vouch wholeheartedly for a company, so can mission ambassadors fight for your nonprofit's mission to be heard, understood, and adopted. And when you start viewing your stakeholders – whether they're well-known board members or once-a-month volunteers – as ambassadors, you'll be surprised at how much more muscle you'll add to your mission.