Spot Your Sneezers
In a true epidemic, studies show that there are always a few people who infect others at a much higher rate — the sneezers. For any number of reasons — hygiene, genetics, behaviour, etc. — these people manage to spread the disease all too effectively. They’re highly contagious!
In a typical fundraising campaign, we see the same phenomenon. If you’re a fundraiser, chances are you’ve observed this yourself. Those people who know how to work their network, ooze charisma and raise way more money than the average? Those are your sneezers.
Bottom line: If you’re smart, you’ll treat them differently.
No, I’m not suggesting you isolate them in quarantine — quite the opposite! Rather, a smart sneezer strategy looks something like this:
1. Identify them — as soon as possible. With online fundraising tools, this is pretty easy to do. They’re the people sending more e-mails to more people … and raising more money … sooner than others.
2. Reach out to them. Recognize their efforts. Call them up, invite them to your office, take them out for lunch — whatever works for you. Make sure your sneezers are ultra-well-informed and intimate with your story. Give them the tools to do even better what it is they already are inclined to do — infect others with a passion for your cause.
3. Give them as many tools as you can. Make it easy for them to spread the word using social networks like Facebook, in their e-mail signature lines, on their blogs, out for drinks with friends …
Take the time to find your sneezers early in the game — not after the fact. You’ll be glad you did.