The bigger your donor base, the better. That’s why it’s important to be constantly looking to expand your community or tribe. One of the best places to find your tribe members is online, where you have access to a wide array of gathering places and watering holes that you may not have realized.
Here are four ways to look online to expand your tribe.
Where do you hang out?
The first and most important places to look are where you spend a lot of your online time. People with similar interests tend to have overlapping beliefs, so even if the blogs you follow aren’t directly in line with your nonprofit’s mission, you’ll likely find people with similar worldviews who may be open to joining your cause. Here are some questions to guide you:
- What Facebook pages or groups do you watch?
- What Twitter hashtags do you follow?
- What blogs do you read regularly?
- What forums are you a member of?
If these are open forums, feel free to reach out and share your nonprofit’s mission or even the fundraising page directly if you are a contributing member. If these locations are moderated, ask if you can share your cause. If you are a regular and valuable contributor, they will be much more likely to say yes or offer their help.
Publications about your field
Looking to online magazines about relevant topics is a good idea as well. Try to think about what kinds of publications those with an interest in helping your cause would read. Environmentalists read Grist, so follow their followers on Twitter if you are an environmental nonprofit. Family-oriented men with a desire to contribute to the world read The Art of Manliness (which even has a forum). If your nonprofit helps boys, that might be a good place to find like-minded supporters.
Simply trying to get featured on one of these publications can be difficult (it’s worth it if you can manage it), but you can still find followers by looking for related Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest pages and following the followers of these publications.
Other nonprofits with overlap
We have moved away from a zero-sum model of giving, in which one nonprofit’s gains are another’s losses. Nonprofits realize that when one of them benefits, they all do. So don’t be shy about asking related nonprofits for help or the opportunity to connect with their communities.
One especially good strategy is to reach out to nonprofits that do something similar to what you do, but serve a different community or location. They probably get appeals from people in the community you serve, but are either limited in their ability to help or reluctant to stretch beyond what they’re good at.
Many bloggers with highly successful online communities are strong advocates and supporters of particular causes. Chris Guillebeau of the Art of Non-conformity, for example, champions Charity: Water. If your nonprofit works in a similar field, you could reach out to a blogger like him, or simply participate in the blog’s comments.
Think about bloggers you know and those you follow. Are any of them dedicated to a cause that is either inline with yours or might have some overlap? As you look to expand your community and reach new tribesmembers, look in these places to find like-minded supporters who will take an interest in your nonprofit’s cause.