Super Advocates: Your Nonprofit’s Most Powerful Supporters

November 30, 2017 Jeanette Russell

Your most powerful supporters don’t need more information – they need an invitation to do something big.  Asking people to simply make a donation or sign a petition is no longer enough for that small, but powerful segment of volunteers who want to do more: super advocates!

Super advocates, volunteers, ambassadors, or whatever you might call them, are the most committed to an organization’s cause, and live on the top rungs of the engagement ladder. Like any elite group, their numbers are usually small compared to your full universe of supporters, but their value is immense.

Because super advocates offer the depth of organizing often times lost in the era of mobilization, we’ve written a comprehensive resource about how a nonprofit can develop a program to leverage one of their most powerful assets to deliver their mission.

Download: How to Create a Super Advocates Program by Colin Delany of epolitics and Jeanette Russell of Blackbaud.

What super advocates can do for your nonprofit:

  • Raise money from friends and family
  • Share or create content or videos on social media
  • Host or organize local events such as house parties or rallies
  • Lobby elected officials in person (either locally or by coming to lobby days in DC or state capitals)
  • Text supporters about volunteer activities
  • Speak to local media or at events on your organization’s behalf

Many nonprofits have considered starting a super advocate program for their top volunteers, but aren’t sure where to start. Our guide shows how these programs work, the benefits expected, the resources they consume, and the kind of institutional commitment they require. We’ll also take a look examples of how other nonprofits have invested in their top supporters and created programs like the ones below:

Super advocates in action:

  • No Kid Hungry leveraged Attentive.ly and LO to engage their social ambassadors around #GivingTuesday making No Kid Hungry the most mentioned Twitter account on #GivingTuesday, raising nearly $40K in personal fundraising donations and engaging 1835 donors (47% new).
  • ALZ has a robust advocates program which influences Congress through online petitions, annual DC lobby visits where 1300 super advocates attend and targeted communications.
  • It’s how the Sanders Presidential campaign with only a 3% name recognition and 2 digital staffers, hosted the largest distributed political event in history with 2,700 kick-off parties in one night!

When nonprofits invest in people to take active roles within organizations, they increase participation. More participation means more fundraisers, more advocates and more messengers. The result is more power: to deliver missions, win campaigns and serve constituents.

How to Create a Super Advocate Program supports the investment by nonprofits to cultivate their people power through programmatic support, training and technology. Put simply, when you give more, you get more.

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