Many nonprofits depend heavily on volunteers to achieve their mission, such as great organizations like God’s Love We Deliver (where I volunteered for several years) and Dorot (for whom I work currently). Clearly it is important to thank volunteers, since their role is often as important as that of paid staff. But should volunteers be asked to support these organizations financially also, as is suggested in 4 Ways to Turn Volunteers into Donors.
My take – it depends on how the ask is made. When I choose to volunteer for a nonprofit, I have already chosen causes that I feel strongly about, e.g. helping seniors. So I might not be averse to adding financial support, as long as my volunteer efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. But if I choose not to donate, I want my work to be considered as important as those who help with contributions. After all, there are many ways to help a nonprofit, and many organizations would not exist without the help of volunteers.
For more on this topic, the NY Charities NYC event on Feb. 27 will discuss Best Practices for Attracting, Managing and Retaining Volunteers with participating staff from several nonprofits such as JASA (for which I also volunteer). And if some of your volunteers decide to make donations also, consider it a bonus – not a requirement.
I will be moderating two sessions at next week’s International Fundraising eConference which brings together many of the nonprofit sector’s leaders in online fundraising and building a strong constituent base. If you can’t listen live, all sessions will be recorded and available for replay at your convenience. In addition, Fundraising Success is sponsoring a free Virtual Conference & Expo which is described as a way to learn the latest and most effective strategies and tactics for engaging, enlightening and empowering your donors.
If you’d prefer a live event and you’re in NYC on Wed, May 19, join us at the May NYC 501 Tech Club meeting which will recap lessons learned from last month’s Nonprofit Technology Conference.
Finally, if like me you still like to enjoy books, don’t miss the recently released Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets, including contributions from many ephilanthropy experts.
Depending on how you interpret the 2009 statistics, online giving is the greatest thing since sliced bread or is over-hyped and still represents a small piece of overall donations. Today’s Agitator.net post challenges us to think beyond the numbers. Some major points:
- Are new online donors simply moving over from other channels, or are they really ‘new’?
- What’s getting in the way of some nonprofits that are not seeing increases in online giving?
- If your organization has experienced a jump in online donations, do you understand why?
- Are you taking advantage of integrated strategies to coordinate your online and offline appeals?
- Can new online donors be ultimately upgraded to higher levels of engagement – as you would normally want for offline supporters?
- If some donors are contributing because their friends or family asked, can you expect them to have a relationship with your nonprofit directly to encourage future support?
- Are you doing enough testing of online messaging, as carefully as you would do for offline?
Online fundraising isn’t a magic bullet, as those who simply add a donation button to their web site without any further effort soon learn. Similarly, if you send out regular email marketing messages but don’t analyze who’s opening and actually reading them (and who unsubscribe), you’re missing the boat. Regardless of your 2009 online numbers, you can probably do better in 2010 by taking the time to answer some of these questions.
For more online fundraising tips, download this new Online Fundraiser’s Checklist, review 25 Tips for Better Fundraising Copy and note the recent boom in mobile fundraising (hint – this channel won’t only be effective after earthquakes). More people are online, but fewer are using the traditional desktop of laptop computer. Apple’s new tablet is coming soon to add yet another option.