Social Circles in Fundraising Success

Social circles come in a wide array of formats. The local PTA, a fantasy football league, civic groups, or even extended families. When someone in one of your social circles asks you to  contribute to a cause he or she was championing, you are significantly more likely to give and to give more. It’s not rocket science: People give to people, and especially to people they know. In fact, this is the whole idea that peer-to-peer fundraising is built upon and why it is so successful.


Understanding your donors’ social circles is key to building relationships that will help you grow your base, donations, and overall influence. By knowing the leaders and influencers in your social groups, you can leverage those relationships and create introduction opportunities.

The Perfect Circle

In many cases, social circles are self-organizing and easy to identify. Think of the groups that already work together to support your cause, such as peer-to-peer fundraising teams or your board of directors. Then go a step further and think of the groups your most enthusiastic supporters belong to outside of your organization. This is where fantasy football leagues and the other aforementioned groups can come into play.


Once you have determined a few circles that make sense for your organization, note them in your database of record. In Abila Elevate, for example, you can use the CirclesTM feature to demonstrate these relationships. With one click, you can add or remove any individual to or from a Circle.

Circle the Wagons

Now start to track the various ways these circles engage with your mission. Consider questions like:


  • Have members of these circles donated previously?
  • Do members of these circles donate regularly, or have common peaks and valleys?
  • Have they volunteered or attended an event?


Depending upon their interaction, you may create specific appeals or even events to deepen their engagement with your organization. It could even influence how you write your thank you note or if you show your appreciation in a non-traditional way. This personal touch says you know who they are and you value their support.


Tracking social groups is key to understanding the many ways in which your constituents align with one another and with your organization. Circles are critical to getting a 360-degree view – not only of your individual donors, but of your donor base as a whole.


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