Learn how Michael Phelps capitalized on fan support to build his newsletter audience following the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Following his historic Olympic Games in Rio 2016, Michael Phelps leveraged his celebrity in a number of ways – endorsement deals, special appearances, etc. Among the pictures of his six medals and his adorable baby boy, Phelps made an especially important post on his Instagram just a week after the games ended. He wrote, “I’m overwhelmed by all the support. Thank you all for the well wishes and for donating to the @MPFoundation. Click the link in my bio to sign up for our newsletter, make a donation, and get a digital thank you from me personalized to you.” The Michael Phelps Foundation was established in 2008 after Phelps received a $1 million bonus from Speedo following his eight gold medals in Beijing. Its mission is to inspire children to lead healthy and active lives through swimming while promoting critical water safety skills.
It’s obvious that leveraging Phelp’s Olympic buzz is an excellent strategy for raising funds for his foundation. However, a more clever strategy is that his first ask is to sign up for his newsletter. This allows him to build an audience, and it ensures sustainability for the foundation even after the Olympics hype dies down. If fans sign up now, at the height of Phelps’ visibility, they will be reminded monthly that he and his foundation are doing great work in their communities.
Another important component of Phelps’ social media message is a simple thank you. Gratitude goes a long way with donors. Each dollar raised allows a foundation or nonprofit to continue its programming, and recognizing each contribution is an easy, common sense way to build loyalty. Further, a personalized digital gift goes a step beyond an acknowledgement letter or a tax deductible receipt. While those are important, an additional, thoughtful thank you will help with donor retention and ultimately, bolster annual giving.
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