Create opportunities to engage volunteer time, talent and treasure.
Yeah! More people are volunteering! With layoffs and downsizing, the newly out of work are deciding to use their new found “free” time for good! This presents a great opportunity for the non-profit community to reach back and make a triple bottom line difference – better for your organization, your community and your volunteers.
Volunteering offers a great cultivation opportunity if done well. We know volunteers invest deeply in an organization they serve. They become involved and attached to the mission and work when their time is well spent and appreciated. According to research from Stanford University, donors who volunteer give more than donors who have not.
Remember to match organization needs with volunteer interests. This is very much like chasing money because it’s there but you have to create a program to get it. Be sure to offer or create volunteer opportunities that fit your mission. If you don’t have a full-time volunteer manager (hmmm, possibly a good assignment for a volunteer?), let’s match the amount of time it takes to manage the volunteers and activities with the end result. There are lots of internet opportunities to post volunteer opportunities:
Most importantly, everyone needs to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the task.
Let’s talk about how to turn these volunteers into donors. I often hear from volunteers and organizations, “I gave time, I don’t need to give money or can’t that’s why I volunteer.” Certainly, if a volunteer joins your corps after being laid-off, now may not the time to ask them give. But it is imperative to let volunteers know it costs staff, money and volunteers to make your mission real. When your volunteer gets a new job – and they will – they will remember how well you treated them, how welcome and useful they felt and they will want to give back more than their time.
There are many ways to let volunteers know you welcome their time and treasure:
- Volunteer orientation gives them an overview of your work, opportunities and fundraising
- Cultivate a relationship with them like any other donor
Create a volunteer recognition program to recognize
- Time and talent
- Appreciation opportunities
- Thank you notes/emails go a long way
Include them in all communications
- Email blasts
- Blog posts – Ask them to write some for you!
- Solicitations written specifically to volunteers
- Ask them to be part of your social media outreach – they can reach others for you
Invite them to fundraising events
- As a volunteer
- As a guest at a reduced donation (or not)
- Ask them to raise money from others on your behalf
Remember, orientate volunteer, engage them in important activities that make a difference and recognize them for their time and talent. When we effectively cultivate volunteers like we work with donors, they will give when asked.
Next post will talk about new volunteer opportunities that can extend your outreach with their help!
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