Guest post by Blake Groves
Like many aspects of nonprofit life, we’re seeing all sorts of fascinating opportunities pop up in the volunteering world. You can now text your ZIP code to a phone number and receive a list of volunteer opportunities in your area. To be blunt, that’s really cool!
The volunteering arena is an exciting environment to be in.
Why are you leaving your major donors, and really any donors, out of the loop?
Have you ever thought to yourself — I can’t ask someone who just gave a large contribution to volunteer their time as well. If you have, you’re not alone.
Sure, a university probably wouldn’t want to ask someone who just funded most of their new library to also pour cement for the whole building, but there are plenty of great volunteer opportunities for major donors that can have a major impact on how those donors engage with your organization.
Don’t undervalue the relationship that can be built when someone gets to support an organization they care about in a non-fiscal way!
Get creative and start offering your major donors unique volunteering opportunities like the two below.
1. Ask them to help out during an advocacy event.
These events get your major donors involved at the ground level, showing them firsthand the work you’re doing and how their donations have factored into your service. It calls to mind a common tip given to creative writers — show, don’t tell!
To provide some context, here’s a sample scenario.
Imagine you’ve gathered all the signatures you need using an online petition, but you’ve chosen to take your online petition offline in the final stage by hand delivering it to the appropriate party.
It’s a grand gesture that sticks in people’s minds and, at the very least, draws attention to the worthwhile cause at hand. You could ask a major donor to join in on the delivery. They’d leave with a memory of a once-in-a-lifetime volunteering experience.
If your organization participates in advocacy, think through the ways you can creatively engage your major donors and help them forge lasting bonds with your cause and your mission.
2. Ask them to participate in a feasibility study.
Feasibility studies aren’t exactly the first thing one thinks of when they hear the word volunteering, but they do provide a unique opportunity to learn more about your major donors while they learn more about you.
If you’re organizing a capital campaign, you’re probably also orchestrating a feasibility study to survey members of the community to gauge the viability of the project you’re fundraising for.
Ask some of your major donors to participate in the feasibility study. Their involvement gives them a window into a current project you’re working on and your present goals while your team gathers invaluable insight into your major donors’ thought processes. All involved benefit.
Note: Two rather obscure options were chosen here to demonstrate how creative you can get with major donor volunteerism. Think outside the box and find unique avenues to let your major donors into your organization’s day-to-day work!
About the author: Blake Groves is the Vice President, Strategy and Business Development with Salsa. With more than 20 years in technology solutions and consulting, Blake’s expertise lies in hands-on knowledge of sales, consulting, product management and marketing. For the last 10 years, he has narrowed his focus to how Internet technologies can help nonprofit organizations.