One of the biggest challenges for many nonprofit organizations these days is how to efficiently and effectively use their volunteers as fundraisers. I know this because I’ve been asked to speak on this topic many times in the recent months to organizations that are struggling with this issue.
Fundraising should always be a team effort. It’s rarely accomplished by staff alone. Successful fundraising should be a partnership between staff and volunteers, both board and non-board members.
Turning Your Volunteers into Fundraisers
Here are three steps that will help you turn your volunteers into fundraisers.
1. Ask volunteers to give first.
It’s not enough for volunteers (who are going to help with fundraising) to give of their time. If they are going to ask others for money, they must give money too. All board members should make their own personal donation to the organization where they are board members. For more on board member fundraising, see my post, Boards: The Secret to Successful Fundraising.
2. Give them tasks they can do.
Start small. Be specific when asking a volunteer to help with fundraising. Have a list of tasks or activities you would like assistance with.
- Sign thank you letters
- Make thank you calls
- Invite friends to take a tour of the organization
- Bring colleagues to fundraising events
- Coordinate a meeting with a prospect and the executive director
3. Provide training.
Don’t assume that volunteers, board members or otherwise, automatically know how to fundraise. It is a learned skill, and for most people, it’s not something that comes naturally. Provide your volunteers with fundraising training at least annually, and on an ongoing, regular basis at board meetings and other appropriate events. Bring your star fundraising volunteers with you to conferences and fundraising seminars.
For more information on turning your volunteers into fundraisers, invite me to speak at your next event.
How About You?
What else have you tried to turn your volunteers into fundraisers? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.