How to Identify the Right Ideal Advocates
The success of your nonprofit organization is, in part, dependent on not only your advocacy as a leader, but others who help promote and support your mission. As new donors and volunteers connect and engage for the first time, learning to identify the right ideal advocates — those who will champion your work, refer others, and connect more people like themselves to your organization — can help you know who to invest your time and energy into, as well as level up your communications plans for further engagement.
So who are these individuals and partnership organizations? And, how can you begin to identify them to put their power to work for you? Let’s start with the characteristics that indicate they are the right fit for you.
Characteristics of Ideal Advocates
The right fit feels right.
Ideal advocates — put simply — fit. And the fit feels easy. They give you more energy than they take. They understand what you do and why you do it. They can articulate what your organization does, and understand your mission in a personal and meaningful way that others find meaningful, too. They are clear about how their connection to your organization is personal to them, and rewarding for them.
Additionally, many ideal advocates will have a large network of people, and, in some way, hold a place of influence within their network where they can introduce others to your mission. When they share, they speak passionately about their experience with you or your organization, and how it can be beneficial and rewarding to them also. These qualities make them the right fit — the best fit — for your organization.
Identifying Tip: When assessing ideal advocates it can be helpful to know what the wrong fit looks like. The wrong fit just doesn’t feel right. Go with your gut. When you know there’s something right about a person or partner organization, engage them until you see how they fit. When it just doesn’t feel right, it’s okay. Not everyone has to be the “right one.”
The right fit engages others.
Ideal advocates are also engaged. Keep in mind their engagement may not always look the same across all ideal advocates, but they want to be actively engaged, and do so regularly. Mike Farag, Fervor’s CEO, recalls the number of times he’s referred buyers to a friend’s car dealership over several years. He’s never personally owned that particular brand, but he consistently encourages others about the benefits of doing business with his friend. These referrals have resulted in sale upon sale.
This is what engagement from an ideal advocate looks like. It’s not just a one-time conversation or donation, but a consistent stream of connecting with your organization and sharing it with others. They’re a right fit themselves, and bring more “right fits” into your boat.
Identifying Tip: The right ideal advocates won’t always be the biggest donors or the volunteers who work tirelessly for your cause. Of course, they will include those profiles, but they also may include donors who give small- to mid-sized gifts, and give regularly. Or, they could be those who’ve never donated or volunteered but those who share your organization with countless others who will be those volunteers or donors you need.
The right fit connects regularly.
A shared experience and a personal connection is usually the first step in an ideal advocate’s journey. It’s also one of the easiest ways to spot an ideal advocate. They have a story to tell, and believe others should have the advantage of this shared, personal connection, too. In fact, they value connection so much, they are innately connectors themselves.
These connectors don’t just share this story with others; they share it with your team, too! They’re easy to reach and regularly check-in. They support your efforts to stay focused on your cause, are mindful of your time when connecting with you, but especially bring value to conversations, either through new ideas or simply being consistent with voicing your value to others.
Identifying Tip: Many advocates will connect to your organization over time. Learn to assess their level of engagement and determine the right level of communication needed to foster a relationship with them. It’s a good idea to keep in mind your return on investment; over engagement that turns unfruitful will waste valuable time and energy. Focus your efforts on the right ideal advocates who want to connect, resulting in the best rewards.
4 Ways to Identifying the Right Ideal Advocates
Here are a few steps your nonprofit or faith-based organization can take to begin identifying the right ideal advocates:
1. Define who your ideal advocate is.
Know who you’re aiming for. Bird-shot marketing may get some, but going after a specific profile or two is a strategy for ideal advocate success. Not sure how to define your ideal advocates? Let Fervor help you using our flagship offering, a Brand Impact Assessment. We’ve helped hundreds of organizations clarify their ideal advocates in order to engage them the right way.
2. Post your ideal advocate “Decision Tree.”
We encourage our clients to post their deal advocate profiles in their boardroom where internal teams can see them regularly. We call this a “decision tree.” It helps organizational leaders listen to and steer new ideas in the right direction. When a board member or other key stakeholder presents an idea, the leader gets to ask one simple but effective question: Who’s it for? If the idea (event, fundraiser, direct mail piece, social campaign, video, etc…) is “for” two or more of the Ideal Advocates™ then its worth considering. If it’s for one, then it’s a prospective idea. If the idea does not target any of the advocates, then it’s probably not a good tactic for this particular organization.
3. Nurture the right ones.
If someone doesn’t fit the ideal profiles, but something seems right about them, it doesn’t mean you disregard them. Rather, engage them still, but within reason. And as time passes and relationships develop, you’ll know where and how they fit. You may even spot more like them and see new opportunities for growth.
4. Bring in more right ones
Compiling a communications strategy through various campaigns and ongoing communications to engage your ideal advocates will help bring in more “right ones.” Consider the message you’re sharing to capture them. Not sure where to start? Fervor has helped hundreds of organizations just like you clarify their messaging and create a content strategy to capture more of the right ideal advocates.
A Marketing Company to Level Up the Right Ideal Advocate Profiles
At Fervor, we know the more you know and understand about your ideal advocates, the more clear and helpful your communication will be to them, resulting in more growth. Looking to identify your ideal advocates for the first time? We’ve got you. Need to add new profiles or clarify additional layers of insights in order to develop specific campaigns? We can help with that too. We’re in it for The Most Good Possible. Learn more about our services and contact us today, and let’s get to it!