Blurred Lines: Turning Donors into Volunteers…into Donors

Don't label your supporters! Turning donors into volunteers...into donors.Does your organization label your supporters and potential supporters as either “donors” or “volunteers?” Mistake!

Are your donor and volunteer databases separate? Mistake!

Research shows an empirical link between volunteering and donating. For example, volunteers donate on average 10X more than non-volunteers. In addition, nearly 70% of folks surveyed in the linked study said they donate to the organization for which they volunteer.

Fundraising and volunteer engagement are both all about building relationships. In today’s connected world, the lines are blurring between donors and volunteers, so why would you put up an artificial wall that limits your relationships? Instead, use the ideas and strategies below to empower and inspire potential community members to provide the help you need most, turning donors into volunteers…into donors.

Make Them Feel Comfy

Your time and communications with new supporters should be focused on showing them why your organization is so special, why you’re a great fit for their individual passions, and how much of an impact they can have with you. Make them feel comfortable and welcome, no matter how they want to get involved at first.

Focus on Corporate Volunteers

Volunteers who get involved with you via their workplaces, or who just happen to work at a large company, might be the “low hanging fruit” when it comes to encouraging donations. Find out if their company runs a matching gifts, granting or dollars for doers program. If so, let the volunteer know and help them easily get these benefits for your organization. Chances are, they’ll want to add in some money of their own, too.

Give Them Ownership

Ask your donor or volunteer to take the lead in a particular project. From a position of relative leadership, they are more likely to get even more engaged and increase their commitment both monetarily and time-wise. Fundraising campaigns (both online and offline,) and event-planning are both great projects for this kind of encouragement.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Whether they’ve given time or money, your supporters are with you because they care and they want to help. Make sure they know what you really need. I guarantee they’ll jump at the chance to make an even bigger impact, and they’ll appreciate that you reached out to them as a trusted and valued champion.

If you’re interested in more detailed, tactical tips for using social media and other communications strategies to blur the lines between donors and volunteers, check out Social Media for Nonprofits in Silicon Valley – I’ll be speaking on this very topic!

How does your organization encourage volunteers to donate, and vice versa?

Everydayhero: The Next Generation of Online Giving Integrates with VolunteerMatch

Everydayhero: The Next Generation of Online Giving Integrates with VolunteerMatchWhen we decide to do something at VolunteerMatch, we jump all the way in. Case in point: Our recent announcement about building a global volunteer engagement network. Not only are we “going global” by building networks of nonprofits and volunteers in other countries, we’re also welcoming great social good tools and resources from elsewhere into the U.S.

One of our newest partners is everydayhero, an innovative online giving service from Blackbaud. Just recently arrived in the United States by way of Australia, everydayhero moves beyond traditional fundraising and crowdfunding services to offer a holistic giving experience that not only enables people to fundraise, but also track and view all the activity that goes into supporting the causes they love.

See It All in One Place

See you entire Giving Footprint in one place on everydayhero to view the full scale of your impact.These days, donors are volunteers are donors. As nonprofits, we know the key is to build a dedicated, excited community of supporters that gives to our organization in multiple ways. Everydayhero provides a platform for your supporters to see their impact on a cause in a bunch of different ways, not just by donating.

What’s especially smart about this new platform is that it’s integrated with already existing tools to make the experience a well-connected part of users’ lives. Information is aggregated from Twitter, Facebook, VolunteerMarch, and MapMyFitness to create a unique Giving Footprint™ that grows over time.

Share everydayhero with your volunteers to help them realize the impact they're having.

How You Fit In

VolunteerMatch is excited that everydayhero is integrating our network to seamlessly track all of the hours spent volunteering and giving back. The platform also shows users more ways to volunteer in their communities for the causes they love.

So what does this mean for your organization?

Basically, just keep up the great work! Technology partnerships like this one with everydayhero enable VolunteerMatch to get your listings in front of even more great volunteers. So the more listings you post, the more your exposure to new supporters will increase – exponentially.

Share everydayhero with your volunteers to help them realize the impact of their work. And don’t forget to post your volunteer opportunities to VolunteerMatch!

Do You Qualify for a $1M Impact Grant?

Does your nonprofit qualify for an Impact Grant from the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation?Does your nonprofit have an education or training initiative that you’d like to expand – significantly?

Does this initiative have the potential to reach A LOT of people, but requires a technology solution in order to exponentially scale?

If the answers to both questions are “Yes!!” then you could qualify for Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation’s Impact Grant. As nonprofit technology geeks ourselves, we think this opportunity seems too good to be true.

The Impact Grant offers recipients a two-year donation of Cornerstone software and services, including unlimited use of our learning management system (LMS) and access to a range of pro bono business consulting services. The grant is designed to support a select group of nonprofits that can effectively leverage Cornerstone’s learning and development technology in innovative and tangible ways for significant community impact.

Learn more about how the Impact Grant from the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation could help your nonprofit reach new heights.

This is a great opportunity to leverage technology to seriously expand your organization’s impact. Completed applications are due by Friday, March 7, 2014.

So if you’re interested in learning more, you can review the grant program guidelines and register for an information session here.

(Photo via rafael-castillo on Flickr)

Make #GivingTuesday Count by Engaging Volunteers as Fundraisers

Make #GivingTuesday count by engaging your volunteers as fundraisers.The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is more than just a day to re-commit to your local gym. It’s also #GivingTuesday, a day for giving back, a day for families, communities, companies and organizations to come together for something greater than great deals.

Now in its second year, the global campaign is looking to build on last year’s success, when more than 2,500 partners from all 50 states spread the word to over 50 million people. According to groups like Blackbaud and DonorPerfect, online donations increased by 40-50% compared to the same day the previous year. Clearly, #GivingTuesday made a difference.

How Can #GivingTuesday Help Your Organization?

Last year we talked about how #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to involve your volunteers and supporters in a new way. You should definitely check out that post for ideas to spread the word to your supporters.

This year we want to focus on something slightly different: How to engage your volunteers as fundraisers to get people to donate on #GivingTuesday.

Yes, it’s true – fundraisers are volunteers! (Assuming you’re not paying them.) Empower your dedicated volunteers to get their friends, families and communities involved, and your network of engaged supporters will exponentially expand. Talk about return on investment!

Here are some tips to help your volunteers become successful #GivingTuesday fundraisers for your organization:

Ask them.

Many of your volunteers are probably looking for more ways to get involved and help you out – you just need to ask them! Send your volunteers and email, call them up, ask them in person when you see them, and let them know that raising money and awareness for #GivingTuesday would be a huge help. We bet they’ll jump at the chance to do more for you.

Make it easy.

Provide pre-written emails, Facebook posts, Tweets, and blog posts for your volunteers to cut and paste. The quicker and easier you can make it for them, the more likely it is they’ll do it.

Track their impact.

Give each volunteer a unique, trackable URL using or Google URL Builder so you can track how many donations come in through each volunteer. And be sure to update them on their progress both individually and as a group and encourage them to continue!

Recognize their success.

No matter how much money and awareness each volunteer raises, thank them profusely and publicly for their time and effort. Make sure they know how much you appreciate it! Perhaps provide them with a badge they can put on their social media profiles that identify them as a champion for your organization, or mention them by name in any press you receive during the holiday season.

What does your nonprofit have planned for #GivingTuesday? Share your ideas in the comments!

5 Ways Engaging Volunteers Can Help You Raise More Money

Guest post by David Bakke, Money Crashers

5 Ways Engaging Volunteers Can Help You Raise more MoneyIn light of recent economic struggles, many Americans have had less disposable income to donate to charitable organizations. According to Philanthropy News Digest, nearly two-thirds of these organizations reported that donations were either down or stayed the same during the first three-quarters of last year.

The point is, in order to generate more money at your nonprofit, you’re going to have to up your game. One of the best ways to do this is to do an even better job of engaging your volunteers. After all, your volunteers can be your most ardent supporters, ambassadors, champions and even fundraisers.

If you’re looking to increase donations, consider the following five strategies:

1. Elicit Feedback from Volunteers

The best ways to keep your volunteers engaged is to ask for their feedback. Get their thoughts on how the organization is being run and ask if they have ideas on how to make it more effective. When they present ideas, take it a step further and ask if they’re willing to contribute to or even lead the suggested activity. Your volunteers are the cogs that drive your organization’s mission – they’re familiar with what works, and implementing their ideas can make them more invested in the results.

2. Train and Communicate

If your volunteers don’t know how to do something, make sure you provide the proper training. Partner up newer team members with more experienced staff to ensure they’re trained well. Communicate openly and often and oversee the process when necessary. Show an interest in their training progress and make sure new and existing volunteers know you’re available to address questions and concerns.

3. Run an Efficient Organization

Volunteers don’t mind donating their time to a worthy cause. However, they don’t like their time being wasted. Run your organization efficiently and in a streamlined fashion to improve volunteer engagement and retention. Keep meetings brief, make sure volunteers clearly understand their roles, and do your best to see that any events end when scheduled.

4. Put Together Creative Promotions

The more creative your promotions and marketing efforts, the more your volunteers may want to participate in events. One nonprofit recently used Groundhog Day to support a promotion. At another nonprofit, an intern created a rap video for her company. Reach out to everyone in your organization and encourage them to think creatively for ways to promote your cause.

5. Recognize Volunteers

If you have volunteers that go above and beyond the call of duty, make sure they’re recognized for their efforts. Make an announcement to the team, include a quick post on your social media pages, or consider any other way to show your appreciation. Little pats on the back and “thank-you’s” go a long way to keeping your most productive volunteers engaged.

Final Thoughts

Even if your nonprofit is reaching its goals, investing in volunteers is a promising way to exceed them. Implement efforts that incorporate volunteers and then track the success of those efforts to determine which are most effective. Just don’t hamstring your efforts by not devoting enough time to your most important asset – your people!

What ways can you think of to raise money by better engaging volunteers?

David Bakke is a writer for Money Crashers Personal Finance, where he stresses the importance of properly managing your finances and giving back wealth to the community.