Today, I have ten tips to share that I think would help any organization to succeed in their Global Open Challenge, as gleaned from my own Kabissa success story, conversations I’ve had with GlobalGiving staff as well as my observations of organizations I know and love that have failed in the past and/or are on track to failing again in the April 2011 Global Open Challenge.
1. Expect to devote alot of time to GlobalGiving during the month of the Challenge. You will be spending 2-3 hours a day on this.
2. Listen to the advice GlobalGiving gives you as you enter the challenge. Read GlobalGiving’s excellent self-help materials and participate in any conference calls or chats that they offer. Write to the GG team to ask questions – they are responsive and helpful!
3. Look at what the organizations nearer the top of the leaderboard are doing differently than you. Consider donating $10 to some successful projects you like to see how they are engaging their supporters, then contact them to ask for advice. Take their advice and copy the things they are doing well.
4. Submit projects that are discrete and achievable within a reasonable time frame, and sensibly fit into your organization’s mission and strategy. Explain the goals and timeline for the project clearly, as well as what will happen after the project ends to sustain any new infrastructure or services. For larger projects (say with a budget over $5,000) attach a project document, proposed budget and timeline.
5. Promise measurable results, then share them with your GlobalGiving donors! Your GlobalGiving donors want to be your partners, not a cash machine. Allow them to expect to be able to join in on the celebration of your success, and take pride of ownership.
6. Write your proposal in a simple story format that ordinary people will understand and enjoy reading, with a few compelling pictures of people that will benefit. You do not need to awe your supporters with amazing videos if you don’t already have it ready to share.
7. Use your existing support base – don’t expect many new people to appear from nowhere to start donating, no matter how worthy you think your project is. Create a list of all the people you think will support you. If you can’t come up with a list of a 100-200 people or don’t think you can reach your goal of 50 donors, then perhaps you should consider waiting to join the open challenge until you do.
8. Focus on numbers, not dollars. Every day of the challenge, devote an hour or two to contacting each and every friend and potential supporter on your list directly, at least 10 or 20 people a day, using the method that suits them best – phone, email, facebook, etc – and ask them to donate $10. Some may donate more, some may not donate at all – but all will appreciate your personal outreach and will think positively of your organization.
9. Send personal thank you emails as you receive donations, not in a big batch at the end. The automated thank you system in GlobalGiving is a key opportunity not just for thanking your donors but to request that they invite one or two other friends to also donate or at least help spread the word via Facebook etc. Add a personal note to your template as you send the messages, and call or email your big donors or your close friends directly to thank them personally.
10. Above all, stay positive! If you feel frustrated, disappointed, resentful, confused, or impatient that your friends and supporters are not donating to your project and you think they should, don’t show it to the people who love you (on Facebook or in a mass email for example). This will do nothing to support your cause and will only alienate you. You might follow up on one of your personal emails to learn something by asking why one person is not responding to your request.
I hope it helps! If you have advice or stories to share from your own contact (as donor or project) with the Global Open Challenge, feel free to add them in the comments!