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Four Ways to Turn Volunteers into Donors

By Marcie Wagner, CFRE

ten ways to volunteers img1First some quick stats and facts on volunteer giving. According to The Corporation for National & Community Service, volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers. Nearly eight in 10 (79.2 percent) volunteers donated to charity, compared to four in 10 (40.4 percent) of non-volunteers. Overall, half of all citizens (50.7 percent) donated at least $25 to charity in 2013.
Here are four tips to move your volunteers to donors.

  1. 1. Train Your Volunteers
  2. Treat them as if they are a new staff member. Ensure they are prepared with a training manual and job description. Provide them with a tour and use that time to introduce them to the staff. They should have a place and the tools to conduct their work and it should be clean, even if small. Make certain they are aware of who they report to, that they meet that person and review the job description, set dates and times of volunteering and cover any questions the volunteer may have. It is important that the volunteer supervisor is accessible to them while they are volunteering. Include a backup person in the event the supervisor is not available. Give them the logistics of when to arrive, where to park, check in, track their hours, get coffee, how long their shift is, what to do if they haven’t finished the job at the end of their shift. Be organized and available to them so they feel welcome, competent and impressed with the time you have taken to ensure their experience is a good one.
  3. ten ways to volunteers img2
  4. 2.Recognize Your Volunteers
  5. Volunteers should have a name tag so it is easy for staff to identify them and acknowledge them as they pass by. During staff meetings make a point of impressing upon staff the importance of saying “hi” to volunteers, perhaps chat with them and ask how they are doing, invite them for coffee or lunch with them. As they leave their shift they should be thank for their time. For volunteers who have made a long-term commitment; acknowledge them in your newsletter, Facebook, website or annual report.
  6. ten ways to volunteers img3
  7. 3. Write a note of Thanks to Your Volunteers
  8. Similar to donors, send your volunteers a short thank you note. Thank them this way early and more than once as appropriate.

  10. 4. Ask for a donation
  11. ten ways to volunteers img4
  12. Throughout their volunteer experience, they should be educated on the organizations broader work, not just the work they may be focused on. As you approach the ask, acknowledge the value of their volunteer work and how it is fiscally valuable, yet make a clear case for the need of individual donations in order to fulfill your mission. Focus the ask on programs and services, not general operating. Make the ask personal, face to face and come prepared with a donor packet and gift envelope, allowing them time to think over the level of their financial contribution.
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