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3 Ways to Leverage Volunteers During Fundraising Campaigns

Is your fundraising team understaffed or overworked? Turn to your volunteers for help! Here are four ways volunteers can help you achieve fundraising success.
Is your fundraising team understaffed or overworked? Turn to your volunteers for help! Here are four ways volunteers can help you achieve fundraising success.

Nonprofit fundraising teams are faced with the major task of securing enough funding to keep their organization up and running year after year. Your nonprofit’s fundraising team might be understaffed or overworked and need a helping hand. That’s where volunteers come into play! 

Volunteers can provide the help that your fundraising team needs to promote initiatives and meet campaign goals. Plus, involving your volunteers in fundraising is a great way to keep them engaged and invested during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

To leverage volunteers during fundraising campaigns, approaching your recruitment and engagement efforts strategically and inspiring supporters to become true ambassadors is important. 

Here are three ways you can use volunteer support to push your fundraising campaigns past the finish line: 

  1. Recruit volunteers to be peer-to-peer fundraisers.
  2. Incorporate volunteers into your fundraising events.
  3. Empower volunteers to act as ambassadors. 

Volunteers already have a proven affinity for your mission, and they want to see your organization succeed. Involving them in fundraising initiatives is a great way for volunteers to deepen their engagement and take on greater responsibility within your organization. Let’s dive in to learn more!

1. Recruit volunteers to be peer-to-peer fundraisers.

1. Recruit volunteers to be peer-to-peer fundraisers.

A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign empowers volunteers to fundraise on behalf of your organization. Volunteers create personal fundraising pages and collect pledges and donations for a specified amount of time. 

When recruiting participants to become peer-to-peer fundraisers, reach out to your longtime or highly engaged volunteers and ask for their help. Volunteers who have been a part of your organization for a long period are already familiar with your mission. If there’s anyone who knows about your cause, it’s your experienced volunteers! You can identify these volunteers using your volunteer database within your volunteer management system and determine who to contact based on their frequency and history of volunteering.

Peer-to-peer fundraising pages often include space for personal stories and experiences, which allows your volunteer fundraisers to speak passionately about your organization’s impact. This helps add a layer of trust for prospective donors since the fundraising page is run by an experienced volunteer, and they know that they are helping a peer support a cause they are highly connected to.

Let’s take a look at some volunteer recruitment tips that can help you connect with P2P participants, such as: 

  • Use a multichannel outreach approach. Figure out what social media channels your volunteers use the most to reach them effectively. For instance, if you’re looking to engage young volunteers, you can reach out to them on Instagram, as approximately 30% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-24. Or, maybe you’re looking to find working professionals — if that’s the case, LinkedIn is a great option. Choose a suitable communication approach depending on the demographics of your volunteers.
  • Create well-crafted role descriptions. Think about the types of volunteers you want to help you fundraise, and craft your role descriptions accordingly. You want to recruit the most passionate volunteers to push forward your fundraising efforts, which is why it’s essential to mention the skills and qualifications required for the task. For example, you may be looking for volunteers with a strong social media background or advocacy experience. Also, remember that a role description that’s creative and exciting will spark more interest than a generic description.
  • Ask your current volunteers to reach out to their family and friends. Your volunteers can ask their close family and friends to donate to their personal fundraising page, which allows you to leverage the existing trust between them to increase the credibility of your appeal. Beyond just recruiting loved ones to become donors, your volunteers can also recruit their family and friends to become P2P participants themselves. This allows your organization to grow support by leveraging volunteers’ personal networks. 

Some of your volunteers might hesitate to get involved if they’ve never participated in a peer-to-peer fundraiser before. Reassure these supporters by laying out the process and providing a fundraising guide full of best practices to follow. This can help these individuals feel more comfortable taking on a new role. 

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2. Incorporate volunteers into your fundraising events.

Since your volunteers are committed to your cause, it will be easier to engage them in your fundraising events. Recruit volunteers to help run the show during your fundraising events to help make them a success.

Your volunteers can help perform tasks such as:

  • Helping with attendee parking
  • Managing the check-in booth
  • Providing directions to event attendees
  • Sharing their personal stories during the event
  • Ensuring the event’s live stream runs smoothly (if you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid event) 

Make your event volunteer opportunities easy to find. Promote your opportunities on social media with a link to your registration page to sign up. This way, your volunteers know exactly how to go to get involved. Also, you can go through your volunteer database and send personalized emails to longtime or highly engaged volunteers mentioning how they have the suitable skills for specific roles and that you would love to have them participate.

Remember to thank your volunteers with a handwritten note, certificate, or social media shoutout to acknowledge their efforts. This will boost volunteer satisfaction, and your volunteers will be more inclined to participate the next time you approach them with an opportunity.

3. Empower volunteers to act as ambassadors.

3. Empower volunteers to act as ambassadors. 

One of the most important aspects of fundraising is donor outreach. Promoting your fundraising events can be done effectively with the help of your volunteers. Empower them to act as ambassadors for your cause — they can assist your fundraising team by conducting community outreach on behalf of your organization. 

It’s important to find volunteers who are just as passionate as you are to help get your message across. Once you’ve identified the right volunteers who you think will do a great job talking with donors, send a personalized message asking them to participate. Remember to be detailed in outlining what you would like them to do, whether it’s sharing your fundraising event on Facebook, doing an Instagram takeover, handing out flyers, or calling donors.

Here are some ways you can help your volunteers succeed as fundraising ambassadors:

  • Create donor outreach materials. Equip your ambassadors with donor request letter templates to send to individuals or other organizations such as businesses. Be sure to incorporate information about your nonprofit’s goals in these letters to help your donors learn a little bit about your organization. Volunteers can add a personal touch to the letters or help you package and send them out. They can also help create social media graphics, video content, and other attention-grabbing outreach materials. 
  • Promote your fundraising campaigns and events on their personal platforms. Be sure to inform your volunteers which social media platforms they should use to effectively promote your event and reach your target audience. Encourage your volunteers to use eye-catching imagery, trendy hashtags, and personalized messages to boost engagement and spark interest. Volunteers can promote your fundraisers to their family and friends, expanding your nonprofit’s reach. 
  • Send thank-you messages to donors. Approximately 55% of donors in the United States prefer to be thanked for their contributions via email. Your volunteers can help create personalized donor emails to ensure no supporter goes unrecognized. They can also write handwritten thank-you notes to make your donor recognition feel more meaningful and genuine. Any form of appreciation goes a long way and shows you appreciate every donation.

Many of your volunteers likely have little to no experience as nonprofit ambassadors. Offer the right tools and training to help your volunteers succeed. Make sure to be responsive to their questions and provide guidance throughout the entire process. 

Now that you’ve learned three ways you can leverage your volunteers during fundraising initiatives, it’s time to start planning! Your helpful group of volunteers can provide an impactful source of fundraising support. They can transform your fundraising team into a much larger one that has the potential to fundraise at a higher level. Strategize how you can best empower your volunteers to push your fundraising efforts forward.

Shreya Tragad

Digital Marketing Specialist at InitLive

Shreya is a creative content creator focusing on delivering information about the importance of volunteerism for nonprofit organizations. She is passionate about creating engaging content, writing, and graphic design to help viewers easily retain information. You can find her work at www.initlive.com or on Linkedin and Twitter.

Shreya Tragad Digital Marketing Specialist at InitLive

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