Helping Volunteers to Be Among Your Most Effective Fundraisers
Written by renowned fundraiser Kay Sprinkel Grace, this short bookit takes less than an hour to peruseshould be required reading for everyone committed to the organization's mission ” board members, senior managers, employees, and, of course, volunteers. It celebrates philanthropy and debunks myths while providing practical guidance.
Among its many experience-driven insights:
Grace writes, "Training will let you test approaches with fellow volunteers in a safety zone so you'll have more confidence when you try them for real." Training volunteers together not only helps them learn how answer tough questions, it also creates bonds and sets the stage, when needed, for teams of volunteers to meet with prospective donors.
But before scheduling appointments with prospects, Grace observes, volunteers need to understand how their values align with the organization's mission. Similarly, prospective donors need to be cultivated, even those thought to be very busy and who, solicitors may mistakenly believe, want to cut to the chase to hear what you're requesting.
It's best to assume, she writes, that would-be donors want to be cultivated: "They want to get to know you, understand your organization, discover shared values, and learn how to be involved in your work." Approaching prospects too early can lead to them turning you down or giving less than theyre capable of giving.
Volunteers become effective fundraisers by being confident about asking. Grace reminds readers that that confidence stems from the following:
"Today's philanthropists think of themselves as donor-investors...They're more demanding, metrics are increasingly important, and innovation is crucial," she writes. "Charity has always connoted a handout, not a hand up. We need to let go of that label. It makes us feel less effective than other sectors of our economy. But, in truth, we are effective."
The Busy Volunteer's Guide to Fundraising is available from Emerson & Church, Publishers.
Reviewed by Peter Lowy