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The Gold Standard: Creating an Extraordinary Ambassador Program

This week’s feature is an excerpt from The Benevon Model for Sustainable Funding: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right, Second Edition. For more information and to buy the book, visit our store.

Ambassadors are the people who are so passionate about your work they will happily invite others to attend your Point of Entry Events. Once you develop a system for recruiting and managing a self-generating group of Ambassadors, the job of implementing the Benevon Model becomes a lot more enjoyable and successful!

There are only two requirements for being an Ambassador: having passion for the mission of your organization, and the ability to fill and host a private Point of Entry Event for ten or more guests over the course of the next three months.

The Gold Standard
The best way to identify potential Ambassadors is to first clarify the attributes of an ideal “gold-standard” Ambassador. Make a quick list of the top five to ten people who most love your organization and will say yes to pretty much anything you ever ask them to do. These are the people who follow through on what they promise, keep in touch, tell their friends about you, and offer to help you with special projects, for example.

For these people, your organization is at the top of their list. You may notice that some, but perhaps not all, of your board members belong on this list. Also, some of your volunteers and past board members may belong on the list, although their current affiliation with your organization is loose at best. Regardless of their official role with your organization today, these people feel as if your work is their work, and they feel as if they are part of your family. Do not screen this list by wealth or contacts. The only screening criteria should be their demonstrated passion and follow-through.

Now, step back and look at your list. What are the common attributes of the people you have named? Write them down on a separate list. Usually people identify qualities like: they always show up, they return our calls, they tell their friends about us, they ask how else they can help, they do what they say they’re going to do, they have a personal connection to our mission, they feel like insiders, we can talk openly with them about what’s really going on.

Think about those attributes. Notice that the list does not necessarily include giving money. The people who fit this description are the natural champions for your mission, your ideal potential Ambassadors. These are the gold-standard attributes that you will look for as you recruit all future Ambassadors.

Keep one or two of these people in mind as you expand your list of possible Ambassadors to remind you of the qualities you are looking for. Your goal is to find and develop as many more people as possible who have these same types of attributes who will in turn invite others to your Points of Entry. Do not lower your standards.