Recently I’ve been reading a lot about effectively using volunteers in your fundraising efforts. It’s an interesting topic for me lately, especially as my prospect list grows, more and more donor events are established, and goals are increasing. At the same time, I’m quickly running out of available hours in the day to get it all done.
Don’t get me wrong – I like new projects! I like getting out to meet new people! So much can be accomplished if we only had MORE TIME!!
Since I can’t clone myself, why not consider using volunteers? We have two advisory boards, so actually we already have volunteers. They volunteer their time to attend the board meetings, give advice, and even talk about us in the community. That’s a good start, but what else could volunteers help with? Could volunteers also take on fundraising?
In my quest to understand this topic better I came across some noteworthy thoughts:
- Fundraising hasn’t always been a profession – it used to be done exclusively by volunteers!
- People volunteer because they believe in the cause and want to get involved.
- Volunteers are seen as a peer, as a fellow supporter.
- Volunteers have no financial self-interest in the donation – they are naturally authentic and credible.
- Donors respond to people who display genuine enthusiasm and passion for the mission – and anyone who volunteers generally has these qualities already.
Now that I’m convinced that volunteers can be helpful in fundraising, what tasks could I have them help with? Creating a menu of volunteer opportunities is a great idea. It could include various options and levels of time commitments. This makes it easy for those who want to help to find what works for them and their schedule. Here are just a few good ideas that could work for you:
- Talk to students about why they give
- Host a donor social
- Sign appeal letters
- Bring friends to tour campus
- Make thank you calls to donors
- Promote the organization through social media
- Spearhead an alumni chapter
We’re just beginning to use volunteers in our fundraising efforts. If you have other ideas that have worked for you, please leave a comment below.