4 fool-proof steps to leveraging your volunteers for fundraising

So you have some fundraising volunteers. But you're not sure how to engage them. You're not alone!

One of the biggest questions we get asked is how to leverage your fundraising committee, board members, or other volunteers, for fundraising success.

You're in luck - we do this time and again with organizations. In my experience, committed, engaged, and passionate volunteers are your best source of new donors.

So here are a few tips to engage them in fundraising.

1: focus on friend-raising

One of the biggest challenges I've seen with volunteer fundraisers is that they are happy to help, but aren't quite sure how to be helpful. They might have fundraising ideas at a meeting, but when it comes to actually asking for support, they don't really know what to do.

Your job is to make it super easy for them.

Host a friend-raising event.

First, take the money off the table and let your volunteers focus on one task - introducing others to your organization.

We know that people give when they build an emotional connection to your organization and its impact. Use a friend-raising event to build that connection and identify who is most likely to be committed to your mission.

Host an event that connects guests to your mission. Have a past client speak, give a tour of your programs, or get the attendees doing some hands-on activities that helps them understand and connect with your cause.

2: focus on passion, not capacity

Without fail, most volunteers without experience in fundraising feel like they "don't know anyone who has a lot of money". This is true of individual and corporate potential donors. They can't imagine anyone in their networks who can write a cheque for $10,000.

Instead of focusing on how much potential donors can give, get your volunteers focused on who they know who will care about the work you're doing.

So they can't give $10,000. Who cares? Can they give $100, $500, or $1,000? Would you turn down a gift of that size from someone who is committed to your mission? Of course not!

By focusing on more realistic amounts, you can help your volunteers be more successful in their fundraising support, making it a very positive experience for them and increasing the likelihood of them doing more fundraising for you.

3: template next steps

Set clear expectations around what happens after a friend-raising event, and template them! Are you asking your volunteers to follow up with an ask? Another invitation? Give them the language and templates to do so successfully, but encourage them to customize it and make it their own.

Clear expectations around next steps from the beginning helps ensure that everyone is focused on the right activities to move things forward.

4: take over, but involve them

The benefit of hosting a friend-raising event (see #1 above) is that you now have meaningful face-time with potential donors. Small events help you connect with the guests in a way that allows you to follow up with them.

This takes the onus off the volunteer to do all the follow up and allows you to move forward without waiting for a volunteer.

Still involve the volunteer in follow up and moving the relationship forward, but you're not dependant on them. Now your volunteer can safely fundraise within their comfort zone (introductions) and you can move forward in yours (moving from passion to giving).

Some people in your volunteers' networks will need more exposure to your organization over a longer period of time before they give. Some people will fall in love right away. Use this as a way to grow your donor list, help your volunteers be successful, and find people who are going to be deeply passionate and committed to your work.

This is our fool-proof way to involve your volunteers in successful fundraising. It's worked every time!

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The Good Partnership, 401 Richmond St West, suite 353, Toronto, ON M5V 3A8

437-886-6047 | cindy@thegoodpartnership.com