Learn from the secret to team fundraising success! Mightycause examines the traits and habits all leaders of high-performing teams possess.
Mightycause’s team fundraising tools are designed so that anyone can create a cool, customized team page and organize a group of people to fundraise as a team — our platform was created with the everyday user in mind, so you don’t need any special knowledge or skills to lead a fundraising team. That said, some teams stand out from the crowd. Some teams raise more money, hit their funding goals quickly and then keep on raising more money. Some teams are made up of highly engaged, successful fundraisers that amount to an army of people making a difference for their cause. What’s the secret behind these successful teams? How do they do it?
It all starts with the team leader, or as we call them at Mightycause, the team organizer. The team organizer is the steam engine pulling the whole campaign and everyone involved forward. Mightycause has been hosting teams since 2006 — and we’ve been able to identify some traits all awesome team organizers share. So, we’ve collected the top traits that make team organizers successful, to help you become one of those team organizers who stands out and breaks fundraising records.
1. They’re organized
Obviously, if you take on any role in life where “organizer” is right there in in the title, you’ll need to be pretty organized. Mightycause has created tools you can use to keep your team organized, from reports that allow you to easily monitor your team members’ progress to fundraising templates that will help team members get their page published quickly, but truly exceptional team organizers go a step beyond. They learn about the tools available to them through Mightycause and utilize them, but they don’t limit their organization to things they can do through the Mightycause platform. They frequently take their organization efforts off the platform and go the extra mile to set their team members up for success.
Highly effective team organizers often create toolkits for their team members. A toolkit is a document (or several) that acts as a one-stop-shop for anything a team member might want to know as they embark on their fundraising journey. It contains links to resources on Mightycause and the Mightycause blog, logos and images that team members can use to fundraise online, email and social media templates they can use if they’re not sure how to ask for donations, and fundraising tips. It also contains email addresses (like email@example.com, and the organizer’s email) so team members know where to turn if they need help. They do this because they know that team members who understand what they’re supposed to do, have resources to help them, and feel supported will be more confident and raise more money.
When Annie Wheeler took on the task of organizing a fundraising team for Campus Kitchens Project, comprised of chapters all over the country, she knew that organizing ahead of time and preparing a toolkit was essential. Thanks to her organizational efforts, Campus Kitchens 2017 “Raise the Dough Challenge” raised more than $50,000.
2. They put in the effort
It might seem that organizing a team on Mightycause is mostly about getting the pieces in place and then letting your team members do the heavy lifting, but that is the exact opposite of how highly effective team organizers operate. They know that the work doesn’t end when they publish their team page and get people to join — they understand that it’s just the beginning.
It’s the team organizer’s responsibility to make sure each team member has their page published, knows how and where to solicit donations, can speak confidently about the cause, and is moving toward their fundraising goals. They use their team dashboard to keep track of team members, and they reach out to team members who need extra help getting their page published, seem to be struggling to get their first few donations, or need some personal encouragement to get to their funding goals. A successful team organizer isn’t just the person who happened to create the page; they are a resource and cheerleader for their team members, and they propel the team forward.
3. They inspire friendly competition
In a perfect world, helping a good cause by fundraising for charity would be motivation enough to join a team fundraising campaign and ask our social networks to donate, but let’s be real. Our lives our busy, our jobs are demanding, and we all have a lot to juggle — altruism often isn’t enough. Highly effective team organizers know this, and they also know that competition is a powerful motivator. They stoke the flames of competition between their team members and keep them motivated to raise money and aim for the top spot on the leaderboard.
How team organizers do this varies based on the cause, the campaign, and what kinds of incentives they can offer their team members. But whether they have team members competing for bragging rights or a prize, highly effective team organizers make sure to play up the competitive aspect of team fundraising to keep their team engaged and motivated.
Bay Area Urban Debate League (BAUDL) has been running wildly successful team fundraisers on Mightycause for years, and as their Executive Director Toni Nielson broke down for us during our webinar on peer-to-peer fundraising, competition has been a key part of her organization’s fundraising success. They’ve offered prizes (such as a vintage Scrabble game) team members compete to win, and send out regular updates on who’s at the top of the leaderboard to inspire competition.
4. They provide structure
People crave structure. It’s hard-wired into our brains. And if you’ve ever had to organize a party, manage staff, or even just get your kids ready for school and out the door on time, you know how vital structure is to getting things done. Without structure, people flounder, do nothing and go nowhere. So part of running a successful team fundraiser is providing structure for the campaign and your team members.
What do we mean by structure? Well, we mean communicating with your team about what they should be doing. A highly effective team leader explains to team members what they should be doing at any given point in the campaign — after they join, after they get their first donations, in the middle of the campaign when they may be hitting a fundraising slump, in the last weeks, days, and hours of the fundraiser. Fundraising is both an art and a science, and a great team organizer takes the guesswork out of the equation for their members by outlining what they should be doing to reach their funding goals each step of the way.
This can be done in the toolkit, in weekly emails, or even on your team page in a custom tab. But regardless of how it’s done, highly effective team organizers make sure their team members have a path to success laid out for them, step by step.
5. They’ve planned for any outcome
Team organizers aren’t just in charge of wrangling team members — they’re responsible for the overall direction of the campaign. We all start a fundraising campaign with one outcome in mind: reaching our funding goal like a champion! Right? But there are any number of twists and turns your team fundraising campaign can take. What if you reach your goal early? Like, super early, in the first week? What if you’re struggling to get to where you need to be to stay on track? What if you fall short? You know what they say about best laid plans.
Highly effective team organizers have thought through these situations and have a plan for each outcome. They’ve mapped out the course for their campaign so they know how to reach their funding goals … and have a plan in place that allows them to act quickly in case they reach their goal too early, too late, or not at all. They know that any endeavor that involves so many individuals (not just your team members, but their donors and social networks too) can’t be controlled, but your response to them can. This allows them to remain calm, rally the troops and lead everyone to the finish line.
6. They’re present and responsive
As we’ve mentioned before, highly effective team organizers understand that their involvement goes well beyond creating the team page, getting people to join the team, and kicking off the campaign. They are a presence throughout the entire length of the campaign (and beyond), supporting team members, encouraging them, sharing tips and answering questions.
Mightycause handles technical and strategic support, so you can always refer your team members to firstname.lastname@example.org. But the team organizers who raise the most and have the highest-earning teams are available to their team members — they understand that the more support their team has, the more money they will raise. So they make sure their team sees them as an ally and feels comfortable coming to them for help, and most importantly, they respond! Team members get a quick, thorough, friendly response from highly effective team organizers, whether they’re solving a problem, running interference with Mightycause’s support staff, or just referring them to email@example.com.
7. They follow-up
Teams often get stronger with time. During the first team campaign, the platform is new, team members need more hand-holding, and the concept is new to team members’ social networks. But returning teams are often some of the strongest performers, because team members know what they’re doing, are confident asking for donations, and donors are familiar with the cause. So highly effective team leaders follow up with team members to increase the likelihood that they will return next year and fundraise for the team again.
It’s important to keep past team members engaged with information about how their efforts helped the cause, the importance of their fundraising, and the team’s collective impact. A team organizer who follows up is more likely to have a team of experienced, confident fundraisers than a team organizer who allows communication to drop off the day after the campaign ends. They will also be sure to say thanks, so each team member knows how valuable their participation was, and even host a party or happy hour to show gratitude for the team. Team organizers need to take care of distributing any prizes and making good on any promises made to team members.
By following up, rockstar team organizers not only ensure that the current year’s campaign is wrapped up but start laying the groundwork for next year’s team fundraiser.
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