Chris Hammond · CEO, Corporate Giving Connection | Think peer-to-peer has jumped the shark? Think again. Peer-to-peer fundraising is more than just pretty images and friendly technology, and when you take an analog approach to this digital powerhouse, it's more powerful than ever.
Chris Hammond, CEO of Corporate Giving Connection, breaks down his method to peer-to-peer maximization in a personal CEO-to-CEO conversation with Funraise CEO and Co-founder Justin Wheeler.
Chris takes us down both personal and professional roads—his path to CEO-status is strikingly similar to Justin's—and addresses the challenges that Black men in America face building businesses.
He also gives compelling reasons to layer your peer-to-peer tactics, including all the non-digital tricks you've developed over the years.
In this webinar, you'll hear from Chris...
You may just find that layering the best of off-and-online P2P tools leads to a whole new world of digital fundraising.
Check out Chris and CGC at https://cgcgiving.com/
Today, I'm sitting down with Chris Hammond, the Founder, and CEO of Corporate Giving Connection, a nonprofit consulting firm. He speaks from the dual perspective of a black small business owner, an experienced nonprofiteer. Offering introspective leadership around changing the face of the nonprofit sector, using the strong messaging and social support strategies that work for your fundraising. Let's dive in.
Justin Wheeler Hey, everyone, thank you so much for joining the podcast today. We have an exciting guest. His name is Chris Hammond and he is the Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Giving Connection. Chris, thank you so much for joining the show today.
Chris Hammond Thanks for having me.
Justin Wheeler I'd love just to kind of get our listeners acquainted with who you are. Tell us a bit about yourself in your story.
Chris Hammond Yeah. You know, so when I typically have this, I typically do my professional background, but I got a little time here, so I'll just say, yeah, tell the story of who I am. So I grew up in Orange County, California, played football. And that took me on a bit of a journey in terms of colleges. So I went to three colleges in four years. So first off at Arizona State University, then went to Northern Arizona University and then ended up at a small Christian school, California Lutheran University. And that's where I ultimately graduated and played football for three years. While I was there, I found a loophole in the system where I had an additional year of eligibility if I went to grad school. So, I said, you know what? Why not try grad school? I was aurally already a political science major, why not try going to grad school for public policy and administration? After I completed grad school, I was at a crossroads. I was living at my mom's house in Camarillo and I decided, you know what, I did public policy. I might as well just go to Washington, D.C. because I'm just going to be in politics. So I drove across the country, had a couple friends out there, crashed on their couch. And I'll never forget the first interview I had out there, it was for a political job, and I went in and I was wearing a nice pinstripe vest and a turquoise tie, and the woman that I met with said, you know, D.C. is a very conservative town. I don't think you should dress like that for an interview moving forward. And right then and there, I knew I was not going to be in politics. And I felt that this was a perfect opportunity for me to, you know, no longer be the person that was coming up with policy or politics. But I wanted to be on the front lines. And that was really where my nonprofit career was born. I had a chance to work for an organization, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, which was more of a grassroots organization and then I moved on to Best Buddies International that worked with people with disabilities and provided friendships and leadership abilities for them. And I was the director of development there. And then based on those experiences, I realized that I saw a lot of gaps in the system and I felt that nonprofit organizations needed support. And I wanted to create a consulting firm that could really support organizations where I needed that support all along. And that was when I created Corporate Giving Connection in 2015 and now here we are five years later, we have offices in New York and in Los Angeles and I couldn't be happier doing what I do.
Justin Wheeler That's amazing. That's amazing. Thank you. It's so interesting. A lot of your story kind of like intertwines like I feel like we could kind of be twins. So I live in Orange County. I went to a small Christian school for university and I moved out to D.C. for about a year. Not for policy, but with a nonprofit that I helped start. And then in 2014, started my company Funraise. So we're like we're on the same timeline of events is pretty interesting.
Chris Hammond That's crazy. That's honestly crazy. I don't think I realized that you had started in 2015. So 2015 was a good year for us!
Justin Wheeler It was a good year. It was where in Orange County did you grow up?
Chris Hammond Ah, Irvine.
Justin Wheeler Irvine. OK, cool. I'm in Costa Mesa.
Chris Hammond OK. Oh, awesome.
Justin Wheeler Well, thanks for that background. As you shared your story, you have worked in multiple positions at different nonprofits. So how has that shaped your business today, which is helping nonprofits, you know, on on on the marketing and development side? How is your experience kind of shaped the direction and even the trajectory of your company?
Chris Hammond Yeah. Great question. So, you know, being at the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, that was my first introduction to the nonprofit world. I had previously worked in events and I had focused on volunteer management. And I was I had always been in a role where I was recruiting volunteers for specific special events. But, you know, going to National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, that was my first really foray into the nonprofit world. And while I was there, you know, I felt like I was a one-man team. So I was the regional manager in the Northern Virginia area and. For the most part, I was playing a role of somewhat of a community organizer where I was working with a lot of these volunteers and we were helping them who were survivors of ovarian cancer or family members of ovarian cancer, people that wanted to bring awareness to the cause. But we were putting on those special events, and I loved it because I had the opportunity to wear so many different hats and I could be creative and I had the autonomy to really just create new events in the region and, you know, develop and cultivate relationships with new funders. But as I as I went on to Best Buddies, you know, I thought I'm at an international organization that has been around for twenty-five years, it's going to have this strong structure and it's going to be something where I'm really just focusing solely on the development piece. And I realized that I was kind of having the same type of role that I was in an office of eight people, I was doing the exact same thing when I was in an office of one person because everybody was so focused on programs, I was still the end-all, be-all on the development side, whether it was grant writing, whether it was event management, whether it was cultivating new corporate donors, but also on the marketing side, if there was somebody that had to do an on-air TV appearance, that was going to be me or, you know, social media campaign or any sort of public relations, it was all still falling on me. And at that time, I realized, you know, A, I feel like I'm a pretty capable individual, but I felt that you know, I didn't have enough time in the day to do what I needed to do well. And I felt that there had to be others that were going through the same challenges that I was going through. And then the second piece of it was, you know, as I was building these relationships with different corporate donors, I was feeling that the system was a bit broken on the corporate social responsibility side. I felt that oftentimes the philanthropic causes that companies were aligning with were more focused on what the executive team felt was a suitable cause rather than what the employees were actually caring about. They felt that it was much more of a top-down approach and I felt it needed to be a bottom-up approach because I felt that there was an opportunity to be strategic about the relationships that corporations were building. And I also felt that it could actually serve as a great incentive for employees that could actually be engaged, and I felt that I could solve that as well. So from those experiences, I really felt that that's where CGC was born. And I wanted to make sure that every time I was creating services, they were built to serve people like me, somebody that had been a very capable individual, but just didn't have whether it was the skill set or the training to actually be successful in my role.
Justin Wheeler Got it. So for our listeners listening, which most in our nonprofit professionals, fundraisers, marketers... tell us what CGC is, the services you provide and what the ideal sort of role that makes sense for a company like CGC to come in and execute on.
Chris Hammond Yeah. So CGC is a full-service marketing and fundraising consulting firm. So we focus in three core areas: strategic advising, strategy and day to day execution. So on the marketing side, it can really be anything from putting together a social media campaign to doing day to day social media, putting together graphic design, collateral Web sites and really anything in between. And then on the fundraising side, it can be anything from grant writing to board management to putting on an event or really just putting together a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. So we have seen that our sweet spot of clients that we typically work with are companies that have a marketing department of three people are less or a fundraising department of three people or less. We've realized that they're the ones that are going to benefit from our hands-on support. And we thought that it was really important to not just be focused on advising and strategy, but that we got our hands dirty because we felt if we can show a nonprofit organization how to actually execute what they're looking for and execute the deliverables, they can ultimately hire somebody for that role and they can have a roadmap and a blueprint so that they can execute and keep it sustainable for years to come.
Justin Wheeler Awesome, thank you. We're gonna... I'm really excited to kind of jump in more because you have so much tactical experience and in regards to social fundraising and so many other topics that I'm really excited to get into. Before we jump into some of the more practical things. I also wanted to take a moment, obviously, what's been going on in the world, especially over the last two to three weeks has just been so heavy and in many ways, we're seeing people come shoulder to shoulder to support just the racial injustice that's been a part of our history for just too long. But I'd love to get your perspective as a black small business owner. How has it been to build a company in America for you? What challenges have you experienced and how is it just essentially painted your sort of view of building a business in the country we live in today?
Chris Hammond I think that has just kind of multiple layers to it. But just to give you just a quick background. So my mother is a Haitian born citizen of the United States and my dad is a black man that grew up in California but was the... his mother was actually the roommate of Coretta Scott King and his dad was a large civil rights activist. So to give you an idea, I had a unique perspective growing up, growing up in Irvine, California, you know, especially at the time when I was there, was heavily dominated by the white community. And for the most part, yes, I always had different racist moments in my life where race did play a part. But what I think is so important. And I think what's been so powerful about this time is I think people have always looked at it really as something where it's racist and not racist and it's really black and white like that. But I think people are starting to learn about the nuances of racism. You know, the implicit biases that take place or just the overall judgment that can take place or even just phrasing that can take place. And that really just really brings in race into mind. And the best way that I could say that is just as I've grown up, one of the biggest things that I think I used to hear a lot was, wow, you're very articulate. And I always used to think to myself, are you saying that two to two other white people? Right. And or why is it just... am I articulate for a black man or is it just I am articulate in general? So I used to hear a lot of this growing up. But I was very fortunate in the sense that, you know, my father being a small business owner as well. He taught me, you know, he taught me a path. And I think that so many of us haven't had the opportunity to have mentors where they can see somebody that can navigate what's going on in America. And I've had the great fortune to have a father that that showed me the way. But all of that is to say that it has hardened me and given me a lot more guidance in the sense when I started a business, I've been able to, you know, maybe deal with some certain and implicit biases or racial undertones very easily, because I've learned from my father in that sense, I and I bring back that that story, that anecdote, that I had talked about about the woman when I first had that interview telling me, hey, I shouldn't dress like this for an interview. At the time, I just thought, wow, I'm so glad that she gave me those tools. But now I look back at it from a different lens and feeling like there was a level of that she needed to teach me. As I've gone forth in this, in my role and in our work, we felt that it's been very important to not only give a voice for underrepresented communities, but we also feel that it's so important that we walk the walk and we not only just talk the talk. And what I mean by that is so often I have seen that from a civil rights perspective, a lot of different underrepresented communities, it's very easy for them to say, hey, black lives matter, but you know what, trans lives don't matter, right? Or, hey, Christian lives matter, but Muslim lives don't matter. And what's so important about our approach is we think it's very important that all civil rights are human rights. And we believe that we have to do that with our customers. And we make it a point that if we're going to work with an organization, not only are they... do they believe in that same type of ideology, but they know we really hope that whether you're an organization run by white man or organization run by a black woman, that you are making an impact in the community and that you're doing more for the community and that you're also making sure that every race is getting the support that they need.
Justin Wheeler Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing. And I think that you know what you mentioned about just the nuances of racism, I feel like this is a time in history where those nuances are slapping us in the face. You know, as a white man who grew up, you know, in a family that had a very international perspective, I'm learning about my own implicit biases that didn't even know existed. And I think as a white man and as the white community, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about those implicit biases and to take action and to become anti-racist, not just to be like you mentioned, it's not this black and white, you're racist or you're not, it's being anti-racist, is taking action every single day. And so thank you for sharing that. By no means is it your responsibility as a black man to educate the white community on what being anti-racist means, but I do appreciate sharing your perspective and your background as it's very meaningful. So thank you for that.
Chris Hammond And one quick thing I just wanted to add to that. And you think it goes back as everybody is going through this awakening if you will? I think my best piece of advice that I want to continue to share to everyone who will listen is it's no longer enough to just be anti-racist by yourself. It's holding your greater network accountable. It truly is something where, yes, you can be that person that can say, you know what, I'm anti-racist but when you're at the dinner table and you're having those uncomfortable, comfortable conversations with family members, hold them accountable, hold your colleagues accountable and really make it a point. And I say this to so many companies, hire people of color. It is so important. Not only does it continue to teach others about the cultural differences, but it makes your team stronger. And I think we can all talk the talk, but eventually, we're going to have to walk the walk. And it really starts with accountability and continuing to educate ourselves. And look, it's not going to be something that changes in one day. It's going to take years and it's going to take work. And my heart has been warmed by so many people's efforts and their willingness to do more right now. And it really is something that I hope continues.
Justin Wheeler Love that we have to walk, though. We have to walk the talk. Right. It's not enough just to put that post up and say I'm anti-racist. It's like you said, that is a great reminder to continue pushing forward. And so. Yeah. Thank you, Chris, for sharing that.
Chris Hammond Yeah, absolutely.
Justin Wheeler OK. Let's turn the page to the next topic. More specifically around the tactical side of fundraising. So we'll just kind of jump straight in here. I'd love if you could share with us some of the more effective and maybe even ineffective social fundraising tactics you've seen nonprofits use and any examples that you can share to help maybe underscore a point or two?
Chris Hammond You know, as I mentioned at the beginning, you know, my original background had always been in events. It was you know when I first got started at the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, you know, at its core, our biggest fundraiser for four every year was our run-walk. It was the run-walk to break the silence on ovarian cancer. And at the time, we were doing peer-to-peer fundraising and I didn't even know it was called that. Right. And it was something where I saw not only the sheer power of the community coming together, developing these teams, but I also saw the importance of competition. And I saw the importance of developing templates and showing appreciation of the fundraisers that were leading these campaigns. And I was doing this, we're talking in 2011, 2012, but we were able to have an organization that didn't have a huge funder prospects, but they were raising $300,000 for these run-walks and was all through the community. It was all through a shared story, a shared goal or really, really harnessing those personal experiences to fundraise and do it effectively. And, you know, here I am now eight years later and we're in the middle of a global pandemic where those, you know, one on one meetings are no longer as easy to take place or putting together an event is no longer a viable option. And here I am seeing that peer-to-peer fundraising, once again, it's still just as powerful as it was then than it is today. And where I think the innovation on the fundraising end, where it's shifted, is it no longer needs to be centered around an event. It can be something that can happen virtually. And if you had the great storytelling, if you have the great marketing and messaging and the strategy to execute it, you can really put together an effective campaign. And I really see that over these. Next few years, especially in the short term, peer-to-peer fundraising is going to be very important. And that's something that we have really focused a lot of our efforts is, not only educating our current clients on where there is clear opportunities to put together these digital peer-to-peer campaigns, but also making sure that we're partnering ourselves with different fundraising softwares that have the peer-to-peer capabilities and making sure that people have the right platform, but also the services needed to get the most out of their campaign.
Justin Wheeler I love what you said, especially in the beginning about... because, I do remember several years ago there was this conversation around, you know, just being fatigue with peer to peer fundraising. And a lot of people were felt like that it kind of had hit its peak. And I think it's because it was so single-channel focused at the time. But what we're starting to see and as you've pointed out, is it's becoming a much more omnichannel approach as it relates to peer-to-peer funders. It doesn't have to be tied to a specific run-walk event, it'll actually be much broader and more, you know, virtually focused. And you're seeing this big resurgence of revenue coming from this sort of channel. What's great about it is it's not just a revenue channel for pandemic times. It's a revenue channel that's very viable for all sort of economic conditions. And so I love that your team is focused on helping organizations really drive the ROI because it's such a valuable piece of the fundraising pie that I think so many nonprofits just kind of leave on the table. So tell us maybe one of your favorite examples of a campaign that you guys have helped build? Whether it was the concept or on the execution side where it really helped instill confidence from the organization that, yes, peer-to-peer social fundraising, this is a channel we need to take serious because it had strong results and it's something that the organization was just really proud of and continue to do.
Chris Hammond On this on this particular example that I'm going to give, It had the hybrid of online fundraising and somewhat of the in-person factor. But for us, we had a client and you know it was funny. They brought us on and they were really pressed for ideas, but they were called the Dizzy Feet Foundation. And they were an organization that was focused on providing, you know, dancing, dancing support and dancing lessons to underserved communities. It was really that simple. And they've been around for 10 years and they were created by So You Think You Can Dance director Nigel Lythgoe, right? And so we had been working with them and they had been doing galas for years where, you know, they were finding themselves raising about $200,000 on their gala, but they were spending about $150,000 to put it together. They reached out to us and they said, hey, it's our 10 year anniversary and we want to do something special. We really don't want to put together a gala. We're thinking that we want to put together some sort of event, but we don't really know how we want to do it. And so we talked with them a little bit. We went to one of their board meetings and we felt that there was two ways that they could do it. They could put together an online peer-to-peer campaign where they could call it a decade of Dizzy, where we could put together some clear stories of people that have been impacted by the mission over the years, put together these compelling emails, make sure that we also had social media posts, that they're different, that their board members could share, create fundraising pages for them so that they could drive their personal network back to the fundraising page. And we wanted to make sure it was forprofit. So we had it direct mail, social media, email, and then we were also going to have this event piece. And so after a while, we decided we can't make this a full-fledged band, let's make it a cocktail party. And it was really as simple as that. And I'm a big believer if you have a major donor, that maybe you've been getting the same donation from them in the past. Maybe it's important to just say, hey, do you have some friends where maybe you don't want to make an ask for them, but just get them in the room and get them to so that we can do the ask and we can get them involved. Ultimately, we put together this cocktail party at this beautiful home in Santa Monica and there was only about 30 people that came by. But because of the excitement that happened in person and we have these personal stories that were shared, but it was much more of an intimate capacity between the digital side and that in person, they raised over $200,000 on this campaign, and it was done in one month. And it was one of those things where they like, wow, why did we do this all along? And I think the biggest piece of it was just being deliberate. They had they had a clear campaign theme to clear stories that they wanted to tell. They had a clear messaging campaign and they had a clear strategy. And because of that, we saw it all work together. And they were so happy and they were saying, we never have to do a gala again. We can really replicate this model going further.
Justin Wheeler Wow. So it sounds like the return was much greater than the organization was expecting. Oh, yeah. Also and it also was a new sort of touchpoint that the organization hadn't thought of before. So it didn't feel like the same old stale event. It had a much different twist, had several different components, both online and offline, which led to the success.
Chris Hammond Yeah.
Justin Wheeler That's awesome. That's very cool. Where do you see not just like in 2020, but like in the next couple of years, where do you see social fundraising specifically peer-to-peer fundraising going? Like where if you were to like give some predictions in regards to its direction, what would you think those would be?
Chris Hammond Oh, Yeah. That's a great question and I think I've briefly chatted with you offline about it, but it's something that I personally am pushing for this to be a reality. As of now, I think that there are so many different fundraising softwares that are out there. You know, a lot of nonprofit organizations, they are very fortunate right now that we are now in a day and age where there are incredible events softwares, incredible, you know, online fundraising softwares, including Funraise, an incredible, incredible platform. But I think that we still have this gap where we have nonprofit organizations, still having the same challenges that I faced before. Whether it's bandwidth, whether it's lack of knowledge on specific capabilities or just having the right team members to help them execute a clear, cohesive and strategic campaign. I think that we're ultimately going to get to a place where the fundraising softwares have this incredible capability, but I think that they need to get to a point where the software platforms are mirroring and having services actually involved with their normal work, and that if somebody is signing up, they're no longer in a position where they're saying, hey, we're a platform and then we need to figure out how we're going to execute it, but actually making sure that every company, every fundraising software is at a point where they feel the only way that we're going to get the most out of these campaigns for our clients is that we have not only the template, not only the bandwidth to support them, but also just the sheer amount of services so that they can get the most out of their campaigns, but also so they can get the most out of their marketing and fundraising throughout the year. So I really, I want to be on the front lines of making sure that we're partnering with these fundraising software companies and ensuring that everybody's using your platform to its highest capability, because as of now, we are currently reliant upon how strong is the team that is actually using your platform?
Justin Wheeler Totally, yeah. Ending. That's such an important value that you and the team, your team provide to nonprofits. It's, you know, technology, a lot of times people think that, like technology is like the silver bullet, right? It's important, but it still needs fuel. Right. And that's where a team like yours comes in and provides the fuel the vehicle needs to get to the destination. And it increases just overall effectiveness and adoption and so forth. So the value that your team brings to a nonprofit to really optimize the tools I think is invaluable and we'll definitely be through the kind of, the promotion of podcast, anyone that's listening, we'll provide links directly to Chris's website so you can learn more about how you could engage with Chris and his team specifically around marketing and fundraising and helping you optimize those different channels for your organization. OK. Let's talk a little about technology and data. So obviously, these two things, they complement each other and they make each other better. How can nonprofits that are using fundraising and enter data or information from software like Google Analytics maximize their fundraising efforts? What are the KPIs that they should be looking at to drive success? How can analytics really help nonprofits make better decisions as it relates to fundraising and donor engagement?
Chris Hammond Looking at data and analyzing data comes down to do you even have the time? You have the person on your team that can even evaluate this data. And one of the biggest things that we've marketing perspective, I would say, when we're putting together a lot of our digital campaigns, the areas where we are the most successful, is through email. And to me, I think, you know, email analytics are very easy to understand. Right. We can look at it. We could say, what is everyone clicking on? How many people are viewing? How many people are opening? What are the links that they're creating? And I think the best piece of advice that I can give is if you're putting together a campaign of any sort, pay attention to how are the people responding. If you are putting together an e-mail campaign in your and your open rate was 15% and then it's 10% the next time and then it's 8% the next time and then it's 6% the next time. Well, it seems like you should be shifting what you're doing. You should pay attention to what worked, what didn't work? What are the different type of links that they're actually clicking on? It's always important to AB test to find out, hey, if I try one subject line, how are they responding? OK, if I e-mail on a different day, how are they responding for that? So I think overall, it's just important to find out what is your community engaging with? Whether that's on social, whether that is just through your actual website or whether that's through email, you have to look at what your community is doing, because I think that so often people feel that they're just going to get a very clear answer. Right. And it's never going to be that clean. You need to try different pieces, get out of your comfort zone, find out what's working for your community and mix it up. Mix it up so that you are actually informed to say, you know what, I know that my organization responds the best when I put an email together at 11:00am on Thursdays. I've noticed that if I put together a campaign and it's an end of your campaign and I do an email that goes out the week before giving Tuesday, letting them know that Giving Tuesday is coming, I've gotten more donations on Giving Tuesday. I make sure that I have the campaign that's going not only for that that Giving Tuesday, but it's going through the rest of the year, I want to evaluate which one got the best response. What were the most donations that came from? So that's all to say, you have some very easy to use information that is already available right now. I think reports can get very complex. But at its core, Google Analytics and even just like MailChimp Analytics and even some of these reports from people that have attended your events and looking at your newsletters and all these different pieces like that, these are much easier to understand. And it just takes the time of just trying to say, hey, I'm looking at the data. Take 10 minutes to digest it and inform yourself moving forward. And one final thing that I would say is, please be sure when you're sending out emails and somebody has already told you that they don't want to receive these emails or you've seen that somebody has already received a certain email, make sure that you're segmenting these different email list and making sure that you're at least keeping track on whether you're putting together a welcome series, you're putting together a newsletter, that you're not just sending the same content to the same people. Because at the end of the day, they're going to ultimately unsubscribe because they're going to know that you aren't paying attention to who is actually receiving it. So there's a lot of information there, you just got to take the time to really digest it.
Justin Wheeler Yeah. And I totally, totally agree. And I think another simple but critical sort of data point to be looking at is just like the on the donor attribution, right. Is where did this donor come from? Because then you can help drive the overall strategy regardless of the channel you're raising through. If you're seeing success, you know, on Facebook ads vs. Instagram ads, do more on Facebook. Right. So the attribution element, I think it is important. But I totally agree. A lot of times the complexity of data and reporting scare organizations from even looking at the most basic information that can still be very important to drive a strategy that is effective and can have a great return.
Chris Hammond Absolutely. Absolutely. I agree.
Justin Wheeler OK. So we're going to wrap up the interview with this last question here, and I'd love to hear your thoughts around. So there's a lot of nonprofits and I think less today than, you know, three months ago because they were a lot of nonprofits forced to go digital, but like what would you say for organizations that haven't... maybe have tried to go digital with our fundraising efforts, haven't found success. What are some tips that you can share that help an organization, big or small, start to be effective at online fundraising?
Chris Hammond Yeah. OK. So I think maybe what I'll give you is the example that individuals have said to me in the past, you know, "we've tried the digital fundraising thing" or "our members don't really pay attention to social media." Right. I think I hear that a lot or, "oh, we've tried to put together a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, but it just wasn't successful." I take a moment and I ask him, OK. So you put together a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Talk to me. Did you recruit fundraisers to do this campaign? And, you know, a lot of times I hear the answer, "no, we didn't really take the time to recruit the fundraisers." And then in other cases, it will be, "well, we had our board do it." And I think maybe one of the first pieces that I think is so important is that your board should not be your end-all, be-all. Your board has a lot of incredible roles and incredible pieces of value that they serve for your organization, but if you're putting together any sort of online fundraising campaign, but namely peer-to-peer, it's important when you're going through the recruitment process, first and foremost, do you have somebody that has an active network? They don't have to have the deepest pockets, but are they willing to put in the work? Are they accountable? Are they somebody that you have had is on a committee in the past or are they a volunteer that is shown a track record of showing up? I think that's first and foremost one of the most important pieces. Yes. If you have a board member that has a deeper pocket and can go to their network and say, "hey, I gave $1,000, can you match what I'm doing? That's awesome. But don't try to you know, fit a square in and a round hole, right? It doesn't have to be something where every board member is able to do digital fundraising on your behalf. I think the other piece that I think is very important, is making sure that they have clear expectations of what they're getting involved in. So if somebody is putting together a campaign, they should know that they have a fundraising goal. If you've already said that they have a fundraising goal on their page, you should talk to them about it. You should also let them know, hey, I'm going to be developing templates for you. Are you going to be willing to use them? I think templates are such an important piece on multiple ends. A, It makes it so you are controlling the process a bit more, and you know what somebody is going to be sending out on your behalf. But B, I think it's also just important because being mindful of your fundraisers time, that's going to be fundraising on your behalf. And then that that third aspect of it is making sure that you're creating compelling stories. Right. I think it's so important and it goes back to what I talked about in that example, there needs to be a campaign theme. There needs to be a hook in some way or another. So that people are going back and saying this tugged on my heartstrings. This is why I want to support it. Doesn't need to be something that you recreate the wheel, but you need to just make sure that your messaging is unified and that whether your fundraisers are doing it or the organization is sending out this information that it's something that they can understand and they can relate to. And just having a communication plan and having a strategy to say, OK, I've taken the time to develop all the tools, I've created a campaign theme, I created a calendar. Now making it so that once you're at the point of bringing on these fundraisers to fundraise on your behalf, they have all the tools that they need to be successful and they can just press play on the campaign. I think if you take that time to actually create that kit and make it something where somebody is actually just executing and they don't have to think through or develop tools, it makes it much easier and you'll be surprised on who will be willing to do the fundraising on your behalf. And I think in this time, we're in the summer, some people are working from home, some people are starting to get reintegrated and going back to work. You have this chance now where everybody knows, that every business has been impacted by the pandemic. So it's important to really capitalize on that, that everybody understands. Go to your donors or volunteers or people that have asked, can I do more and say, hey, I know you might not be able to give a donation at this point, but would you be willing to just take some time to execute a fundraiser on our behalf? You'll be surprised on who will say yes. And it could be something where they might not have had the greatest giving capacity, but they sure have a large amount of time where they can execute on your behalf. So I really just feel the best piece of advice I would give is, create a plan and take the time to build the collateral and the kit that you need and then give it a real digital fundraising try. And then you can look back and say, OK, what are our lessons learned? What worked with our community? How did people react? Look at the data and then you can develop a new campaign from there.
Justin Wheeler I love the part about, you know, like just because it's digital doesn't mean you still can't take a more, for lack of better words, analog approach on the recruitment side. Right. So, any sort of peer-to-peer campaign that ever been a part of launching, we always had this like soft launch period where we would invite 25-30 people to start fundraising ahead of the official launch of the campaign just to help build that momentum, get some energy going. And then, you know, exactly like you said, we would call people and ask them to fundraise. It wasn't all just driven, you know, by sort of digital acquisition efforts. I think that's a really important aspect, especially when you're just getting started on the on the digital side. Well, Chris, thank you so much for joining the conversation today. This has been extremely valuable. I know that our nonprofit community is going to find a lot of value in it. If they would like to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to reach out?
Chris Hammond You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I'm always responding to emails, so shoot me a note. I've got time!
Justin Wheeler Awesome. We'll make sure to also get that in the follow-up materials that go out to promote the podcast, but Chris, thank you again so much for your time. We truly appreciate it and we look forward to continuing the conversation and working more closely with your team.
Chris Hammond Thank you so much. I really appreciate and thank you guys for listening.
Justin Wheeler All right. And it's a wrap.
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