Updated: Oct 29
We Are NAFO, or "The North Atlantic Fella Organization," has not only been a beacon of support for Ukraine but has also demonstrated ground breaking strategies in utilizing Discord for fundraising and community engagement. For any non-profit or startup seeking to harness the power of Discord for fundraising and community building, understanding We Are NAFO's Discord strategies is extremely useful. In this article we'll explore how non-profits or startups can conduct effective fundraising and community building through Discord channel structure and effective server management.
The Journey of We Are NAFO
The inception of We Are NAFO in May 2022 marked the beginning of a remarkable journey.
Inspired by the "doge" meme, the organization, led by Kama_Kamilia, turned "fellas" into a symbol of support for Ukraine. Through battles against trolls, media attention, and strategic expansions, NAFO's influence soared. By December 2022, they had raised over $250,000 for Ukraine, setting the stage for a series of impactful initiatives in 2023, including the opening of a shop, recognition from U24 and President Zelenskyy, and other planned fundraising campaigns. Their Discord server has over 7,000 members with a robust community that's actively engaged and contributing to its cause.
Discord Channel Strategies
We Are NAFO has demonstrated the importance of well-organized channels within a Discord server. The first set of channels that a new user is exposed to are there welcome, announcement and news channels. These channels set the community tone and is where new members should start their journey with We Are NAFO.
1 - NAFO WELCOME and ANNOUNCEMENT Channels: The 'NAFO WELCOME' channel is designed to create a warm and informative entry point for new members. It provides guidelines, server rules, and a friendly welcome message. The 'ANNOUNCEMENT' channel serves as a central hub for official updates, ensuring that members are consistently informed about the organization's activities.
2- News Channels: To keep members well-informed, We Are NAFO established "nafo-news-bot" and "Ukraine-news-and-links" channels. These channels serve as sources of global news and Ukraine-specific updates, emphasizing the organization's commitment to transparency and staying informed.
💡Discord Ideas💡: Imagine a mental health non-profit using similar channels, with 'New Members Start Here' for welcoming newcomers and an 'Announcements and Updates' channel to share important news, resources, and event notifications. An environmental non-profit could create 'Eco-News' and 'Climate-Action-Alerts' channels to share environmental news and information related to the organization's mission. Give your Discord members a place to start that also lets them understand your server vibe and what you're all about.
Community Building Channels:
Once you've set the tone with some basic welcome and news channels, the next step is to start thinking about how you can get your community engaged and involved. We Are NAFO understands that community engagement is more than just constantly asking for money. Their community building channels, including "introduction-channel" and "nafo-general-chat", foster a sense of belonging and interaction amongst members.
1 - Introduction Channel: The 'introduction-channel' encourages members to share a bit about themselves, their interests, and their motivations for joining the community. This helps establish a personal connection amongst members.
2 - General Chat: The 'nafo-general-chat' channel serves as a casual hangout space for members to discuss topics beyond the organization's core mission. It encourages open conversations, promotes friendships, and strengthens the sense of community.
💡Discord Ideas💡: A non-profit focused on animal welfare can set up an 'Introduce Yourself and Your Furry Friends' channel where members introduce themselves and share stories about their pets or encounters with animals. A non-profit advocating for youth education can create a 'Community Chat' channel where members discuss hobbies, share book recommendations, and offer academic support. Figure out the types of things your members might be interested in socializing about, and test out those ideas as new channels.
Specialized Interest Channels:
We Are NAFO recognizes the value of catering to diverse interests within the community. By having specialized interest-based channels like 'music-enjoyers' and 'fellas-who-cook,' they broaden community engagement.
1 - Music Enjoyers: The 'music-enjoyers' channel provides a space for music enthusiasts within the community to share their favorite tunes, discuss artists, and organize music-related events.
2 - Fellas Who Cook: The 'fellas-who-cook' channel encourages culinary enthusiasts to exchange recipes, cooking tips, and food experiences. This not only builds connections but also extends the sense of community to shared interests.
💡Discord Ideas💡: A non-profit supporting the arts could introduce a '"Creativity Corner" channel where members can share their artwork, poetry, or creative projects. A food bank could create a '"Recipe Exchange" channel where members share budget-friendly meal ideas and cooking techniques. Find the topics your participants gravitate towards and are interested in.
Verified Fellas Only (More access):
To maintain authenticity and trustworthiness, We Are NAFO implemented a "fella-verification" channel. This ensures that members are genuinely interested in supporting the organization's cause and adds to the credibility of the community.
1 - Fella Verification: Members are required to complete a verification process, which may include answering questions or providing information related to the organization's mission. Verified members are then granted access to the full server.
💡Discord Ideas💡: A social justice non-profit can employ a "Justice Advocates Verification" process to ensure that members are genuinely committed to promoting equality and social change. Verification is just a badge or an additional role that interested members get to acknowledge their commitment to the cause.
Live Event Participation Channels:
We Are NAFO's "we-game-videogames" and "we-game-tabletops" channels are dedicated to real-time engagement during events. They allow the community to participate actively and foster excitement during live activities.
1 - Gaming and Tabletop Channels: These channels encourage members to join gaming sessions or tabletop events in real-time. They promote camaraderie, fun, and collaborative experiences during live events.
💡Discord Ideas💡: A non-profit focused on mental health awareness could create "Game for Well-being" and "Tabletop Tuesdays" channels for members to join online games or board game nights for destressing and building connections.
While building community is important, non-profits and startups still rely on fundraising to achieve their aims. So figuring out how to leverage your Discord community for fundraising is also crucial. Here are some tips from NAFO on how to incorporate fundraising once you've done a good job building a sense of community amongst members.
Digital Merchandise Sales: We Are NAFO utilizes Discord to promote and market their digital merchandise effectively. They have dedicated merchandise announcement channels where they showcase their offerings, post images, and share links for easy access to the shop. Members can discuss and ask questions about the merchandise, and these interactions help boost sales.
Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations: Discord serves as a central hub for collaborating with partner organizations. They create shared channels where representatives from partner organizations and We Are NAFO can discuss strategies, share updates, and coordinate joint fundraising efforts. This real-time communication enhances the effectiveness of their collaborations.
Recognition and Public Validation: The organization uses Discord to promptly share and celebrate any recognition or acknowledgment they receive from governmental bodies or media outlets. Announcements in dedicated channels allow them to inform and engage their community, building credibility and fostering a sense of pride amongst members.
Engaging Campaign Fundraising: They utilize campaign-specific channels to keep members updated on the progress of ongoing campaigns, share heart warming stories, and encourage active participation. Members can discuss the campaigns, ask questions, and offer their support, enhancing the sense of community and urgency.
Community-Driven Fundraising Events: For community-driven events, Discord is the primary platform for planning, promoting, and executing these activities. Event-specific channels allow members to RSVP, receive event updates, and actively engage during the event itself. It serves as a virtual gathering place for supporters to come together and contribute to the cause.
Transparent Financial Reporting: Discord serves as a transparent communication channel for sharing financial updates. The organization posts regular financial reports in dedicated channels, allowing members to review and discuss the allocation of funds. This transparency builds trust and confidence amongst their community.
Personalized Fundraising Appeals: Discord's personalized messaging capabilities are utilized for tailoring fundraising appeals. Members receive tailored messages based on their interests and previous contributions. This personalized approach resonates with supporters, strengthening their commitment to the cause.
In addition to these strategies, moderators also regularly express appreciation for their supporters' contributions, creating a culture of gratitude and recognition. Members feel valued and connected, which encourages ongoing support and engagement.
We Are NAFO's use of Discord for fundraising and community engagement is a model for aspiring non profits and startups looking to jump start their own fundraising and community building efforts. Their well-organized channels and seamless integration of Discord into fundraising strategies highlight the platform's potential for non-profits and startups. Its clear that effective communication, community building, and authentic engagement are all vital for fundraising in the digital age. Organizations can adopt these strategies to create lasting impacts and foster meaningful connections with their supporters, propelling their missions forward.
If you're interested in leveraging Discord to jump start your fundraising campaigns we'd love to help. Panxpan is a fundraising platform dedicated to helping non-profits and startup projects fundraise via NFTs, access and Discord. We believe this three legged stool is the future of fundraising and let us show you how we can help you create fundraisers that boost engagement and drive community. Check out our platform here or submit your fundraising campaign here and we'll get back to you once we've reviewed it.