Monday Mixtape 014: Nonprofit Volunteers
Here’s your Monday Mixtape, a weekly newsletter from CauseVox designed to jumpstart your week, challenge your thinking, and inspire you to keep at it.
Each week, we’ll hand-pick must-read articles, thinking, resources, and stories for nonprofit fundraisers and leaders and drop it in your inbox. Have suggestions or questions? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy this week’s Mixtape!
Nonprofit Volunteers are a nonprofit’s secret weapon.
From peer-to-peer fundraisers to on-the-ground program help, volunteers are there, raising money, tutoring kids, digging wells, answering phones, and, in general, making our world go ‘round.
They extend our reach and expand our capacity. They multiply our efforts and help us grow.
Volunteers are, in short, the best.
So why is finding them, keeping them, and engaging them often so tricky?
In this week’s mixtape, we’ll look all things volunteer, including tips for recruitment, strategies for engagement, and some common problems and how to address them.
Here’s this week’s mix:
“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.” —Albert Schweitzer
Track #1: Finding Nonprofit Volunteers To Support Your Mission, by Suzanne Craig at CauseVox
There are people out there who already care about your mission and want to help. You just have to find them. The Taproot Foundation’s Suzanne Craig wrote this guide to recruiting volunteers, particularly those who want to share their professional skills, pro bono. She’s got tips for running a volunteer recruitment campaign, using matching services, and working your connections to find volunteers.
Track #2: Donors Aren’t The Only Ones: 3 Volunteer Retention Horror Stories by Lyndsey Hrabik at Nonprofit Hub
We talk about donor retention all the time, but volunteer retention is a real thing, too. Much like donors, it makes sense to engage the volunteers you have, instead of setting up a revolving door. Lyndsey focuses on three hypothetical horror stories, but I have to say, I’ve seen them all in real life. Poor communication, condescension, and neglecting to explain the mission can drive volunteers away fast.
The thing I really like about this piece is that for each hypothetical horror, it offers a concrete fix to prevent or address the problem.
Major props to the Volo City Kids Foundation who exceeded their fundraising goal with CauseVox. How did this nonprofit with a two-person fundraising team activate their community of supporters to raise more than $20,000 to provide free sports leagues to kids?
Track #3: How To Engage Volunteers At Emotionally Challenging Nonprofits by Kayla Matthews at VolunteerMatch
We know volunteering can cause good feelings, like satisfaction in making a difference, but some volunteer opportunities expose volunteers to emotionally challenging situations. If your nonprofit deals with abuse, poverty, or illness you probably know what I’m talking about.
Kayla’s piece on helping volunteers engage with the hard stuff is invaluable. She gives strategies for careful recruitment and onboarding, communicating the emotional nature of your work clearly, and providing opportunities for volunteers to process their feelings. Her suggestions would go far into creating an emotionally supportive volunteer environment.
Track #4: Volunteer Fundraising: 5 (Proven) Strategies To Promote Fundraising by Tina Jepson at CauseVox
Want to get your volunteers involved in fundraising? Whether you want to invite volunteers to your peer-to-peer campaign, share their networks, or help with fundraising administrative tasks, Tina’s post is full of strategies to get started.
Volunteer fundraising does lighten the load on fundraising staff, but volunteers will still need support. This post also has advice on what volunteers will need from you, and how to transform them into fundraising rockstars.
Dogs are good volunteers…(warning: BABY KANGAROO!)
By The Way…
Raising money is enough work already—your donation page shouldn’t complicate it. That’s whyCauseVox donation pages are easy for you and your donors to use, well-designed, and a breeze to integrate with your website and payment processing. Yes, to raising money! No, to technical headaches!
Thanks for reading!
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P.S. Questions about this week’s mix? Suggestions for next week? Don’t leave me in the dark. Let me know by emailing me at email@example.com.