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A few weeks ago we unveiled the Seven Success Factor framework and dove deeper into the seven pillars critical to the success of a peer-to-peer fundraising program. We most recently discussed audience and how crucial it is to first understand who is most important to our program. Once we have a strong, data-driven, and validated idea of who our audience is, it is important that we cultivate messaging that is tailored to their needs and expectations in a compelling and effective manner. This important piece of the framework, and third Success Factor, is known as the ask.
To put it simply, the ask is literally what we are asking our constituents to do. It is the verbal and written driver behind the actions our program relies on. Typically we are asking our constituents to donate, fundraise, participate in an event, or create awareness about our organization and cause. But before we can build an effective ask it is important that we understand the different layers of an ask that exist in a peer-to-peer fundraising model.
Peer-to-peer fundraising involves enabling our core network of constituents to reach out to their direct networks of friends, family and coworkers on our behalf. That network ultimately becomes the vehicle for delivering the change we want to create in the world. Therefore, the first part of an ask is centered on asking our constituents to be a part of our movement by participating in our program. This is where we communicate our mission, the change we want to effect, and how each participant can be a valuable part in that process. The ask here is two-fold: We are asking our constituents to join us, and we are asking them to enlist the help of their networks as well. Both are equally important messages to communicate.
If we set this process in motion with enough momentum, the ask doesn’t really end. Instead, it extends past our direct line of constituents to their networks of friends, family and coworkers. We are now not only asking our constituents to fundraise, but are also asking their networks to donate too. The key here is to equip our constituents with the inspiration, tools, and messaging they need to make the ask in a compelling manner. The more support we can offer our fundraisers at this point in the process, the more likely they will achieve fundraising success and continue to pass the ask forward.
Assuming we have done the first two pieces correctly, we have now set ourselves up for the third ask that must happen in a successful program. The friends, family and coworkers who were asked to donate by our core constituents are now themselves potential fundraisers. Those extended networks are indirectly a part of our fundraising base but if we steward them properly they have the potential to become directly connected to us as fundraisers as well. It is important that this ask is tailored to new supporters, and that we don’t assume that these new supporters are entirely familiar with our organization or connected to our cause. The third ask should be compelling and coupled with messaging that is introductory in nature and created to steward them from being an indirect donor to a core constituent.
As you build out your ask make sure to consider who the target is, how they are connected to your cause, and what you want them to do. And then make sure to create messaging focused on these three components for each of the three asks.
It sounds complex, and it takes some thought and consideration. But with the right planning, you can not only achieve your peer-to-peer fundraising goals but grow your overall network in the process!
[Editor’s Note: Over the next few weeks, we’re looking in more detail at the Seven Success Factors, the evaluation framework we use to help our clients optimize their peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. We use this framework to identify opportunities for growth as well as spot weaknesses or misalignments that are impeding performance.]
Download the complete Seven Success Factors E-Book today to learn more about evaluating and improving your peer-to-peer program!