Today's guest author is Kirby Rooks; his article originally appeared on Suite 101.
It is very common for volunteers to help with projects, simple administration duties and coordinate with other volunteers. They often become complacent and bored.
Asking the nonprofit’s development department for fundraising ideas for volunteers and a lot of eyebrows are raised. Unfortunately most nonprofits don’t use volunteer assistance for fundraising.
According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review “One-third of volunteers drop out after one year of participation, costing nonprofits an estimated $38 billion in lost labor.”
Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy
The Stanford Social Innovation Review concludes in the article ” Volunteers are effective fundraisers because their personal commitment to the organization’s mission makes them convincing advocates for the cause. In addition, volunteers are likely to donate to the organization at which they serve.” It comes very natural to volunteers who share a passion for the nonprofit to lend financial support.
Individuals get together to help the organization and to socialize with friends. They invite friends to join their group, which leads to indirect solicitation by association. Association becomes acceptance by means of belonging within the group. Those in the group become effective fundraisers because they share with each other on everything about the group, especially fundraising.
Knowledge in the hands of a volunteer becomes a tool to convince others of the importance of donating to the cause. This is an effective fundraising strategy by using volunteers.
Fundraising Ideas for Volunteers
Hold a town hall meeting to discuss fundraising ideas for volunteers. Have all volunteers fill out a talent questionnaire, so their experience is evident.
Get the volunteers to discuss giving and what it means to the organization. Tangible evidence of how donations make a difference in the lives of the nonprofit’s clients is important. Offer to council them on basics. Share with them the bulk of financial to a nonprofit comes from lots of small donations. The volunteers as a group make a substantial difference in how effective the organization will be that serves the community.
Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Persuade them to give at least twenty-five names from their personal email account that the nonprofit can add to their mailing list. Be sure to send an email that references the volunteer.
- How about introducing the Executive Director to 3-4 of the volunteer’s closest friends, neighbors or relatives? Chances are they already know that the volunteer is passionate about the organization and would be delighted to meet the Executive Director.
- Volunteering to supply speakers for your clubs, schools and churches is a popular way of getting your Executive Director introduced. It allows the use of his expertise in networking to find donors and volunteers.
All that is needed is to make the volunteers aware of these opportunities.
Volunteer Awareness with a Call to Action
Volunteer awareness is by itself useless. But volunteer awareness with a call to action is a valuable marketing skill. Awareness is ok but don’t get caught up in just making people aware of the nonprofit or cause. Get them to take action in the form of small donations or volunteerism.
Volunteers giving speeches to the community’s service clubs is much more effective then say the Executive Director who probably makes the rounds once a year.
Volunteer awareness with a call to action is often misunderstood. It is a powerful tool when used by volunteers. When volunteers discuss a nonprofit that is close to their heart the passion they use to express the nonprofits mission in the community is unequaled by anyone else.
This is the best time to call to action those in the audience in the form of volunteerism or donation.
Awareness can happen at any level. Awareness takes the form of individual persuasion as well. Even to the point of lobbying political representatives in the local and regional areas.
Awareness, for the benefit of a nonprofit’s clients, to change public policy can be more important then funding. It alters the playing field and can enable the nonprofit to transfer expensive projects to the government to help focus on a specific issue therefore saving money.
One of marketing’s greatest tools is awareness. But the strength of a nonprofit lies in the hearts and minds of its volunteers.