Part 1 of this article sets up the value of a micro-influencer or ambassador program (“influencer” and “ambassador” are used interchangeably in this article).  The four tenants in Part 1 include:

  1. Do the hard work of understanding the “value proposition” for potential influencers.
  2. Understand the objective of the program.
  3. Be selective.
  4. Be pure.

Once you grasp these ideas, these five practices, which I have learned firsthand, will help maximize your program.

ONE |  Listen to the micro-influencers who are sacrificing for your organization…they will tell you everything you need to know.  Peter Drucker often spoke about the idea that once you are part of an organization for a while, you are no longer a constituent, and you lose sight of what constituents find valuable. You might think you know what micro-influencers need, want, and value, but you probably don’t.  Find ways to listen to the men and women already acting as your influencers…and listen beyond what they are just saying out loud. 

TWO | Provide practical resources that help ambassadors contribute.  The influencers acting as ambassadors for your organization have a life outside of all they do for you.  They go to work thinking about accounting, being an attorney, being a stay-at-home mom, etc. – they need help, and after listening, you will know some practical ideas of their needs.  The organization I led provided some of the following and more:

  • Downloadable flyers that help educate others on your mission
  • social media graphics
  • banners that could be mailed, used, and shipped back,
  • monthly challenges the influencers could ask their network to help with…final four brackets, state-by-state challenges, Christmas-time angel trees to fill, etc.

THREE |  Use both the total number of influencers and engagement as critical metrics. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the number of influencers is the most critical metric.  It is essential, but you need to consider the percentage of influencers that are 1.) not engaged, 2.) marginally engaged, and 3.) fully engaged.  Once you have found ways to score this metric numerically, discover strategies to move influencers from “not engaged” to “fully engaged.”  Perhaps in another article, I will explore how to strategically part ways with influencers that remain unengaged (or let’s talk, and I’ll let you know one-on-one).

FOUR | Invest in influencers. In the organization I led, it became apparent that we had a chance to pour into the lives of our ambassadors.  They benefited our organization so much that we wanted to give back, enrich their lives personally, and even launch a sub-ministry specific to them.  In every way, this was a win-win.  Each ambassador felt valued and poured into, and of course, the organization was building gratitude and sustainability into the mix. 

FIVE | Use healthy competition to motivate. In any influencer program, some individuals will represent you simply because they love your mission…and will work hard.  We found competition beneficial for those who were not intrinsically motivated.  We instilled monthly contests and specific initiative competitions (most raised for this project), and the ultimate competition was the annual award for “most raised.”  In each case, the competition provided a little extrinsic motivation that added to the bottom line.

BONUS | Finally, move influencers to embrace your organization’s mission in its entirely. As discussed in Part 1, influencers represent your organization for different reasons.  Once you have their attention, work hard to move them to love your organization simply because of your mission.  If you do that, it won’t matter what personalities are involved, what incentives you employ, or anything on the periphery of the mission…they will love what your organization is working to accomplish.  Pure love for the mission creates loyalty and programmatic sustainability. 

An influencer’s program can be highly fulfilling with a high return on investment.  If you are launching such a program, I hope these articles are helpful.  If you already have a program, these ideas will lead you to maximize your program further.  In either case, Mosaic Strategy Group has tools to help you launch or maximize a micro-influencers program. 

Mosaic Strategy Group specializes in tools and experience to help you or your organization get unstuck and to the next step in your development.  See what experiences and expertise we have that can benefit you.


A micro-influencer program is used by businesses and nonprofit organizations to “borrow the networks” of individuals who love what you do…or, in a for-profit business, want to earn some income by selling your product or service.  In some cases, this type of program might be called an “Ambassador Program.”

After overseeing one such program for a mid-size nonprofit, I gleaned a tremendous amount about building a micro-influencer program.  We had around 300 Ambassadors who played a significant role in raising funds and helping us gain a tremendous amount of exposure. 

There are many benefits of a micro-influencer program.  First and foremost, just about every individual has someone they influence.  In today’s social media world, some folks have large audiences they influence. If that is not the case, just about everyone has a network at work, in their profession, at their school or church, or even if you are like my wife…everyone!  Second, a well-built program will serve as both an acquisition program and a cultivation program.  In the for-profit world, acquisition and cultivation would be akin to business development and up-sales—in short, gaining new constituents and getting them to do more of what you want (spreading your message, donating, purchasing, etc.). 

Below are four foundational principles I have learned over the years in working in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors and, most recently, while overseeing an extremely successful micro-influencer program.  In our case, we called this our “Ambassador Program” (Part 2 of this article is Maximize a Micro-influencer Program):

ONE |  Do the hard work of understanding “the why?”  Hopefully, you understand the real value your organization offers…we educate young children, help families adopt, feed starving chidlren, or sell this or that widget.  To build a micro-influencer program, your organization must understand why others want to be associated with you.  Do individuals purely love your mission and vision?  Are you trendy, and individuals wish to ride the wave you are creating?  Are you associated with a celebrity that individuals want to be around?  You must do the challenging work to understand the why and be brutally honest, or all your time and energy may be wasted.

TWO  |  Understand the objective of the program.  If you are unclear or can’t articulate the purpose of the micro-influencer program, you can’t find the right individuals to help, nor can you tell them how to contribute to your cause. Again, a clear objective is essential.

THREE  |  Be selective.  If you build an attractive program, individuals will clamber to join your cause.  At the organization I led, we decided to settled in on the right number of Ambassadors and had to turn away a good number as well. We had a rigorous application process as well as a committee of fellow Ambassadors who poured over the candidates and made selections.  If you select the wrong candidates, they will, at minimum, do a poor job of achieving their objectives; at maximum, they will misrepresent your organization in a way that produces harm.  Remember, these influencers are your representatives…for better or worse.  Being selective also creates a culture of honor and value.

FOUR  |  Be pure.  Understanding the “why,” clarifying the program’s objective, and being selective must all be aligned.  If your foundational points are not in alignment, emotionally intelligent individuals will see through you.  In the nonprofit world, you cannot manipulate volunteers into doing what you want—you have legislative power, not executive control, so don’t abuse it (see Jim Collins, Good to Great for the Social Sector).  Have clear and pure motives for what can be such an essential part of your organization.  On the for-profit side, money motivates – use it!

Part Two of this article will address several tactics our Mosaic team uses to optimize a  foundationally strong program.

Mosaic Strategy Group specializes in tools and experience to help you or your organization get unstuck and to the next step in your development.  See what experiences and expertise we have that can benefit you.