Volunteers are the lifeblood of any charity or nonprofit. They’re a vital extension of your charitable organization – the most loyal supporters to your cause who dedicate their time and passion, just because. Volunteers are one of the greatest assets your organization has. They’re an affordable way to complement the work of your staff and increase your visibility. They’re a tremendous resource for your organization, but are often underutilized in fundraising. While you might traditionally consider a volunteers as a support team for events, crowdfunding is another way volunteers can support the cause regardless of your supporter’s location.
Volunteers are an incredibly powerful resource for your organization for a few key reasons:
- They Are Passion Personified: Volunteers dedicate their time to causes close to their heart, for free. Of their own volition. That’s how much they care. Their crowdfunding campaign pages often include personal stories and their first-hand experience enables them to clearly speak about your organization’s impact. This adds an extra layer of donor trust and compels their own personal community to give. It gives social proof and encourages community participation.
- They’ve Built a Relationship With You: Your volunteers are already committed to your organization and picking up what you are putting down. They’re already likely willing to give a little bit more than their time. They’re also probably already familiar with your staff!
- They Have Expertise: If there is anyone who knows your key messaging as well as your staff, it’s your volunteers. They know what you do, how you do it, and the impact of your activities. They are already trained advocates!
36% of respondents in a survey conducted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, said they have felt compelled to give to a cause supported by their friends and family. Offer your volunteers the opportunity to make an even larger contribution to your cause with crowdfunding. Use these two quick tips to demonstrate the powerful impact your volunteers could make as fundraisers.
Make it easy with the right platform
Creating a crowdfunding campaign page should be as simple and straightforward as possible. If you already have a presence on a crowdfunding site (like FundRazr), you can eliminate the need for your volunteers to set everything up on their own. With your own branded crowdfunding campaign, your volunteers will be able to make a sub-campaign and edit and enhance their campaign with personal appeals in addition to your branded materials. This will make them more successful because their crowdfunding page will appear more trustworthy as it is consistent with your organization’s look and feel and will visually show the funds as paying to your organization.
Another benefit of having the right software is the ability to keep your messaging consistent. By providing your volunteers with templates, you will save them time and empower them to speak on your behalf to their audience. You can also craft social media messages they can post on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote their page.
Segment Your Volunteers
Mass communications often deters volunteers from giving their time to your cause. Personalization is the key. For many businesses, personalization is the driving force behind engaging with their customers. Appeal to what your volunteers are most passionate about by segmenting your communications.
Segment your volunteer list by:
- Program Preference: By segmenting your volunteers by initiatives or programs that they’ve participated in before, you can appeal to their known interests. Ask volunteers who have volunteered for a specific project to crowdfund for that same program – they’re already nearly subject matter experts.
- Frequency: You can determine how often a volunteer wishes to receive communications from your organization by sending a simple survey. Adhere to your volunteers’ wishes and only send communications as often as they indicate so as not to lose subscribers or violate CASL compliance.
- Communication Method: Some people prefer to be reached by email. Others are more inclined to respond to a Facebook event invite. Determine which channels your volunteers prefer to be communicated through in order to improve your response rates.
- Commitment: It is important to truly understand your volunteers, down to how much time they dedicate on an annual basis. Those that regularly dedicate their time should be communicated to differently than those that volunteer at one event a year. Dedicated volunteers are your V.I.P.’s—your first-class people. They deserve even more attention, personalized thank-you-calls, and consistent nurturing.
“Fundraisers are true evangelists for your cause. Provide opportunities for them to engage on an even deeper level. Challenge them, ask them to renew their fundraising efforts, and to do more,” Emily Parris Sandler, Director of Online Engagement and Giving Programs, City of Hope.
Your fundraisers are your organization’s super star supporters. Give them the tools they need, a little encouragement, and proof of the impact they’ve created, and you can increase your donations exponentially with crowdfunding.