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5 Tips for Building a Sustainable 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.

  1. To produce a successful Ask Event nine to twelve months after launching the model, you will need to have a minimum of two private Points of Entry per month, each hosted by an Ambassador and filled with ten or more of their friends, family, or business associates.
  2. In terms of length of service, people generally volunteer to be an Ambassador once and to fulfill this commitment within the next three months. The short-term nature of this role makes it very appealing. Your goal and theirs should be to have each of their private Point of Entry Events generate a minimum of one new Ambassador, who in turn hosts ten or more guests at a Point of Entry over the next three months. You do not want Ambassadors feeling burdened by having to dig deeper through their finite list of contacts to help you each year.
  3. Some groups develop their Ambassador program into an ongoing high-status group, with ribbons and badges, social events and celebrations. They keep their Ambassadors involved in the life of the organization. Others keep it very low-key, working one-on-one with their Ambassadors to schedule their Points of Entry.
  4. Whichever route you take, you will need to plan each Ambassador’s succession right from the start. Some Ambassadors have large networks and may invite fifty guests the first year, thirty the next, and so on. But eventually they will run out of people who will say yes when invited to a Point of Entry Event. At that point or sooner, consider inviting them to take on another role in your organization, perhaps as a member of your Sustainable Funding Team or your board. Certainly a person who spreads the word and follows through by having many guests is a person of interest for future involvement with your organization.
  5. We tell our groups that passion is the glue that holds the whole model together. You and your team must be passionate about the work of the organization. Your Ambassadors must be extremely passionate about your work. Your Point of Entry Event must convey that deep passion and really connect with the guests. In that way, those guests for whom your organization’s mission really is their life’s work or their natural calling will be inspired to join you by becoming Ambassadors and inviting others to the very same type of event that just inspired them: your Point of Entry Event.