Empowering your volunteers to be ambassadors
Imagine a group of people who repeatedly and confidently tell your story, spread your message and live your brand. These are your ambassadors, willing to not only help with your brand or business but freely give up their time and enjoy helping your cause. They’re also your greatest assets; they’re simultaneously an impassioned group of people, keen to share their story and a smorgasbord of influencers, who interact with potential clients every day.
Empowering your volunteers to take the next step to be ambassadors should be fairly straightforward as it’s a low cost form of marketing for yourself and also allows them the opportunity to indulge their passion.
Giving up their free time shows they already want to be a part of your story and share in your success, so by engaging and investing time into these advocates further, you’ll build loyalty and strengthen your relationship. Sharing your mission statement to expose them to what you do and they’ll become invested in the cause.
Volunteers should understand they can become an ambassador if they have the passion for the brand or cause and are knowledgeable about your purpose, so praise them for the time they’re investing into your project.
An effective way to do this is to create opportunities to show your appreciation to your volunteers; don’t let them go away empty handed, reward them with tokens of appreciation, feed them (always) or hold an event to say thanks for all their hard work and support.
Create a fun atmosphere which will make your volunteers want to come back time and time again. Over time they won’t just be working for your brand, they’ll be living it too.
Create community by regularly praising and sharing your supporter stories on your website or social media channels. It opens up opportunities for building your tribe with new recruits and lets your existing volunteers know you’re invested in them.
But don’t be phony or fake. Your interactions with your volunteers (and any communications about them) should be credible and authentic if you want loyal advocates of your brand.
Reiterate your key messages by keeping them visual. Get key words or phrases that form part of your brand message printed onto volunteer t-shirts – the message is more important than the product itself, so ensure it reflects your aims. While a unified brand image helps build your identity, it will also be welcomed as those giving their time will feel appreciated.
To take undue pressure off your potential ambassadors, make sure they understand working as part of your organisation doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ – that a human and personable touch is sometimes the best approach when spreading your message.
Empowering your volunteers to be ambassadors is a worthy cause, with benefits to both your brand and your volunteer base respectively. Make it easy for them to feel comfortable about your brand and their role so they’ll want to sing it from the rooftops!