Your nonprofit’s volunteers are a great resource for your organization. But, did you know that they can also be a great asset to your fundraising program?
Many nonprofits worry about getting volunteers involved with development, because they don’t want to scare their volunteers off or make them feel uncomfortable. Smart organizations know that there are ways to tap into the power of their volunteers without making them feel awkward.
Here are five different ways to get volunteers involved in your fundraising efforts.
#1 – Inviting Friends to Non-Ask Events
Non-ask events are one of the best ways for any nonprofit to expand its donor universe. A non-ask event (sometimes called an introductory or point-of-entry event) is a gathering at your facility (or at the home or office of a supporter or board member) where people can hear more about your work. As the name suggests, these events are free for attendees, and no ask is made at the meeting. (For more on how to implement this type of event, read How to Hold a Non-Ask Event).
Your volunteers can provide a significant boost to your development program by inviting their friends and colleagues to your nonprofit’s next non-ask event. Assure your volunteers that no fundraising will be done at the event, and ask them to attend, along with two or three friends. You’ll be surprised at how receptive your volunteers are to bringing their family, neighbors, and others to hear about the work they do at your organization.
#2 – Making Thank You Calls
Did you know that donors who get a thank you call from a nonprofit within three days of making a donation are far more likely to give again? It’s true, and the call doesn’t have to be from a board member or executive at the organization. It can be a simple “Thank you for your recent donation, we really appreciate it!” call from a volunteer or other supporter.
If your nonprofit is too understaffed for your development office to call donors within three days, consider putting together a team of trusted (and well-trained) volunteers to handle some of these calls for you. It will have a direct, positive impact on your fundraising revenue.
#3 – Telling Stories
Storytelling is all the rage in nonprofit fundraising right now, and for good reason. Donors love to hear stories about the great work your organization is doing. They know that it is their gifts and pledges that are making that work possible.
Your volunteers are boundless repositories of great stories about your work. At many organizations, volunteers work on the front lines, helping those in need. Why not ask your volunteers to share those stories as part of your e-mail newsletter, your fundraising appeals, your gala events, and at other fundraising functions? Your donors will love to hear these stories, and your volunteers will be overjoyed to provide them.
#4 – Spreading the Word Online
Many nonprofits have found that their volunteers are more than willing to promote the organization through social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Put together a team of volunteers who are active online and give them a list of sample Tweets, updates, and posts. Then ask them to help you spread the word about your nonprofit online. Be sure to encourage your volunteers to include lots of links back to your site and to your e-mail newsletter sign-up page. This way, you can capture some of the people that respond to your volunteers’ promotions and place them into your fundraising funnel.
#5 – Personalizing Communications
Donors love it when the communications they receive are personalized. It makes them feel loved, appreciated, and an integral part of your team. Even a simple handwritten message (such as “Thank you for your support!”) at the bottom of a thank you letter can make a donor feel special.
Your volunteers can provide a great service to your fundraising team by handwriting short personalized notes on thank you letters, newsletters, and annual reports that are already being mailed to your donors. Put together a volunteer team with great handwriting and a desire to help thank your donors through the written word.