Wherever you look…television, Facebook, Twitter, even at the local grocery store…you’re hearing about, reading, or invited to vote in campaigns designed to win charities large sums of money. In some, like The Home Depot Foundation’s campaign, charities collecting the most votes in one round qualify to another round, where even more prize money is awarded.
The voting craze is an innovative way to raise funds for deserving non-profit organizations. Who can argue with an initiative which raises funds for charities through communal participation? If I had a chance to help a local charity earn income through my active involvement, I’d jump at the chance…and I have, over and over again, with no regret.
In the entire voting craze, I have one simple question… are the participating charities doing anything other than promoting voting? Better yet, are the charities leveraging the enthusiasm and power for greater benefits?
These campaigns create more opportunity than the big prizes being dangled in front of them. Non-profit organizations which jump into these campaigns can leverage them for years and years of financial support and voluntary leadership. In fact, they can even use the voting sprees to raise funds while the voting is taking place.
Let’s look at just three opportunities…
- Existing constituents – It’s an active and promising way for current supporters to voice their support by voting and publicly encouraging others to follow suit. As they’re promoting the votes, they can (and should) be describing why they care so much for the organizations and how these organizations meet community needs.
- New prospects – The beauty of social media is that it lets an organization know who’s voicing their support. They may not all be voters but, in many of these voting campaigns, voters are sharing their support. Let’s not forget the possible “domino effect” created by friends-upon-friends of voters who get involved. Charities, which are on top of their game, should be in touch with all these potential supporters and beginning to develop strong relationships.
- New donations – The quest of the voting campaigns is to “win” money by placing first or among the top vote-getters. That’s great. But, why couldn’t these campaigns, particularly the energy generated from these campaigns, stimulate donor giving? Since the majority of charities won’t win the top prizes, they could easily win by promoting giving. At the bare minimum, they could ask each voter to match their vote with a $1 donation. By connecting voters to giving, the charities generate new income and, most likely, engage new prospects as donors.
For as long as this voting craze continues, the charities may want to recognize all of the opportunities that they bring. These campaigns bring periods of heavy promotion, which enables charities to educate and spread awareness to larger numbers of people. As we’ve identified, they’re also prospective donor generators which, if properly leveraged, can result in years of outstanding financial and voluntary leadership.