Volunteer Frontier Update - Tapping Skilled Volunteers for Development
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I hope all is going well for you. This e-mail provides
useful resources and suggestions to help you engage volunteers in
higher-end development work. A new report (see below) paints a
pretty nasty picture of the current challenges facing fundraising at nonprofits
and the churn of development directors. To address this challenge, I've
highlighted resources to help your agency engage volunteers in deeper, more
sustained ways to help your nonprofit bring in the funds.
We all know what is typical of many nonprofits - pushing unwilling board members to raise money and recruiting volunteers to do the annual gala or perhaps the so-called "fun" run. What's worth adding is a team of volunteers who work closely throughout the year with the development director in the main role of donor cultivation. Give me a call if you'd like to talk about how to engage volunteers in development, or in numerous other roles to help support your agency's core work.
New Fundraising Report Sheds Light on Old Problem
I wanted to make sure you've seen the new publication: UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit
Fundraising that came out last month from CompassPoint. Over 2,700 executive directors and directors of development were surveyed to find out what the biggest challenges are in fundraising. In short, the study found that development directors come and go at an alarming rate, and it takes a long time to fill the positions.
You and I know it's costing agencies dearly in lost funds along with the donor relationships that go out the door when the main fundraising professional leaves. The report concludes that organizations and their leaders need to build the capacity, the systems, and the culture to support fundraising success. While the report is a must read if you're in senior management, I'd guess it was written more by fundraising professionals since not one recommendation called for better engagement of volunteers as fundraisers.
I recommend that every development director work with a small, dedicated team of volunteers who are mainly in the role of donor engagement. With the right support and training, volunteers can play a key role in cultivating and strengthening lasting donor relationships - sometimes even better than staff can do it. So, when the development director gets recruited away, the relationships will stay with the agency - where they belong!
Questions to Ponder:
To what degree are volunteers working on an ongoing basis as associates with your director of development?
Are key fundraising volunteers seen as development professionals or more as event helpers who come and go?
Are development volunteers included as a part of the staff team? Are they invited to meetings and asked their opinions?
Sample Position Descriptions for Development Volunteers: Membership Donor Engagement Volunteer from the Human Society of the United States. These volunteers make calls to donors, find out what their interests and input this information into a database. This position was recently created.
Assistant to Development Director from the Samaritan Center. This volunteer gig sounds like a paid position. It holds a good deal of responsibility, including soliciting community businesses for support, scheduling tours, along with other creative opportunities to help increase giving.
Fundraising Team Leader. This virtual volunteer position from the Community Empowerment Network says, "Contribute to the development of the organization's fundraising strategy; implement the strategy, including, but not limited to executing community fundraising events; work closely with marketing staff to develop marketing materials to support fundraising efforts."
Contact me anytime should you have questions concerning how to maximize your utilization of volunteers to save money, raise funds, and do more mission. Visit Volunteer Frontier, to find great resources and a full list of my services. Learn about the Volunteer Frontier approach to yield impressive returns for years to come. Lastly, visit my blog to get my take on trends and ideas in the field of volunteering.