We’ve all been there: You’re working hard, making great progress toward a goal, when all of a sudden—you hit a wall. Progress stops, you get disappointed, and just like that, you’re stuck. This is the dreaded plateau that comes with any scaling operation, whether you’re raising money for a campaign, working to reach your target for volunteer sign-ups, or striving to hit that goal for petition signatures. But do plateaus really come out of nowhere?
In short, no. A plateau is often brought on by a “set it and forget it” mentality—the misconception that if something is working, then it’s best to keep doing it the exact same way to continue seeing growth.
But a lack of experimentation and failure to try new things will eventually bring your growth to a halt. With the most effective digital organizing tactics in constant flux, you’ll need to stay ahead of the curve to ensure your efforts continue to scale.
So, how can you keep your organizing progress from stagnating?
Ramp up your organic growth.
No matter the goal you’re aiming for, leaning into your existing community for help is never a bad idea. By giving people more responsibility to help expand your supporter base by becoming recruiters themselves, your work and impact will go a much longer way.
Each of your supporters has a network of their own and it’s likely that the people in their network (their friends, family, etc.) share similar interests and care about similar causes — so, the chances are high that they’d be interested in yours. By having your supporters conduct active outreach to their networks, you tap into their personal influence over those relationships, and expand your reach with little to no effort on your part.
So how do you build your recruiter program from the ground up?
Identify your key supporters. You’ll need to know who your next level supporters are — who has donated to your cause? Signed up to volunteer? Attended a rally? Get familiar with these people, as they’re the ones who can help get your recruiter program rolling.
Reach out with an ask. Once you’ve identified your key supporters, it’s time to tap into their skill sets. Make sure to keep your communications on track with personalized outreach and acknowledge their previous involvement with your cause using features like smart fields.
Track their progress. After setting goals or KPIs, stay on top of how your recruiters are doing with recruiter IDs that help you keep an eye on which new supporters they bring in — regardless of the action new supporters take, every link can include a recruiter ID that shows you which of your supporters may have influenced their participation in the first place.
Create a recruiter leaderboard. Once you’re tracking your recruiters’ progress, it’s easy to create one dashboard that lists all their personal growth in one place — so you can easily identify your top recruiters in less time. Give your recruiters a bit of extra motivation with an email blast that shares the top recruiters of the week, or send out an individualized thank you on a quarterly basis. Whatever your strategy––make sure to acknowledge your recruiters, and keep them motivated.
Have point people check in with recruiters on a regular basis. The goal should be to encourage more participation, equip them with the resources they need to help spread the word, and to update them on the impact they have made.
Consider asking your recruiters to take the next step. Remember, you don’t want to stagnate, so always keep things interesting by challenging your recruiters to take on new opportunities. Delegating responsibilities gives your supporters more ownership with something like a personal fundraising page. There, they can set a personal fundraising goal, give more background on why they’re passionate about your cause, and track their progress toward their individual goal.
Re-engage supporters who have become inactive.
Along with bringing new people into your community, you’ve most likely got some supporters who have lost touch with your organization over time. Perhaps they made a one-time donation that fell off your radar or RVSPd to an event to which they never actually showed up. These supporters present huge opportunities for growth because you know they’ve already shown interest in your cause — the key is to break through the growth plateau and back in the game.
- Target your outreach and keep it personalized. As with any outreach, it’s important to know your audience. Rather than blindly emailing all inactive supporters, take a closer look at individuals who had taken specific actions in their day-to-day journey with your organization before dropping off in their engagement. For example, segmenting supporters that are email-able and have a certain amount of social capital can increase the likelihood that they’ll re-engage. And with tools like tags, filters, and customized lists, every piece of content or communication you send can be thoughtfully constructed to fit their journey with your organization as well as their personal interests. If you want to move them to action, you’ll need to cater to who they are as individuals, not just as supporters.
- Deepen your relationship with a phone call. Reaching out one-to-one is a great way to reconnect with supporters who may have lost touch, because it shows them that you know they’re more than just a name on a list—and reminds them that you’re human, too. Make sure to record notes from your call including whatever you learn about them and their engagement with your cause, so you can refer back to them later.
- Bring your supporters together for an event.There’s always excitement and buzz around events — especially if you incorporate fun activities that’ll get your supporters motivated to show up and connected to your growth mindset. Then, during the event, make sure to have specific asks and new opportunities to bring your engagement to the next level.
- Keep the ladder of engagement top of mind. Every journey starts somewhere, and it’s likely that this less-engaged cohort of your supporters is still at the lower end of the ladder—keep close track of their progress from this point, and create many pathways for them to go from one step to the next. The more you personalize your approach to where they are in their journey with your organization, the more likely they’ll agree to your asks.