Are you struggling to develop and manage fundraising volunteers? Do you think it is “easier” for you to do the fundraising yourself? Do you secretly feel it is a waste of time to work with volunteers?
We believe that a successful fundraising campaign should be volunteer driven with staff providing guidance and support. To accomplish this, nonprofit management and staff need to put the same energy into developing a volunteer pool that they invest in developing major donors.
Here are 14 suggestions to help you develop your volunteer team into what we consider “world class volunteers.”
- “Make the case” to potential fundraising volunteers about the impact they can make through giving of their time, money, and connections. Tell your organization’s story with the same level of professionalism you apply when talking with a donor.
- Encourage potential volunteers to participate in a VIP visit so they can experience your organization in action.
- Develop written standards and expectations for volunteers. This includes “job descriptions” that communicate anticipated roles, responsibilities, and accountability.
- Meet with each prospective volunteer to learn their interests, skills, and the resources that each could bring to your organization.
- Consistently acknowledge and recognize volunteers’ work. Put a program in place to make sure this doesn’t become haphazard.
- Recognize birthdays, anniversaries, and other dates important to your volunteers.
- Track the time volunteers give to your organization. Provide volunteers with individual updates on the amount and dollar value of the time they have given. Track and share this at the collective level as well. The Independent Sector reports that the value of a volunteer’s time is $25.43 (national average).
- Develop a commitment form for each volunteer to review, modify if necessary, and sign.
- Develop and implement a training and orientation program to guide volunteers. Share a volunteer handbook that includes information and frequently asked questions.
- Match staff and experienced volunteers to serve as mentors to new volunteers. These mentors should support volunteers throughout their tenure.
- Provide a way for volunteers to make recommendations and share what they have observed. Respond to their suggestions.
- Provide written reports on the organization’s progress and accomplishments
- Make sure your organization is transparent and accountable.
- Promote your volunteers. List volunteers on your website and social media: highlight the service they are providing. Offer small gifts such as pins, tee-shirts, and certificates as a way of showing thanks and appreciation. Create a marketing package that highlights your organization and the impact that volunteers make.
This may sound like a lot, but you are asking people to do a lot for you. The more you invest in your volunteers, the more they can impact your bottom line. Think about the value of volunteer time and treat your volunteers accordingly. They may become future board members, staff members, or they may be the person to step in and fill a void in the organization should a period of transition arise.
Well oriented and committed volunteers are the life blood of nonprofit organizations.
Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
When you are ready to build a fund development program, grow your fundraising, or increase board engagement we are here to help. (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.