Susan Says: Raising Money from Your Volunteers

Following the report that we co-released with Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund, there has been a lot of interest in its key finding that volunteers contribute 10 times as much money to organizations as non-volunteers.

Not surprisingly, the thing most organizations have most wanted to know is “how.” That is, how can organizations effectively and persuasively ask even more from the same folks who are already giving so much every day?

In From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Successful Volunteer Involvement, Susan Ellis has some great suggestions for sensitively handling this important ask of your volunteers. Early next year the book’s third edition will appear. In the meantime, the Energize Book Blog has posted an excerpt from Susan’s influential guide:

An organization can — and probably should — offer volunteers the opportunity to donate funds, but it has to be done in a way that is clearly different from soliciting people who are not already actively working for you. The key is to start by acknowledging that the prospective donor is a volunteer. It’s true “recognition” to know this important fact. Nothing is worse than a volunteer receiving the same mailing sent to everyone, as if his or her service is invisible.

You can read the rest of the post here.

As with so much of volunteer recognition, the important thing is to honor and respect the contributions and willingness of your volunteers. Don’t assume you know how much is enough. When asked with respect and authenticity, volunteers usually surprise with their readiness to pitch in for the people and causes they care about.

How is your organization handling donation requests of your volunteers? Share your stories here.