An ode to fundraising volunteers

Where would your organization be without volunteers?

April 19 to 25 is National Volunteer Week here in Canada - it's a great opportunity to give your volunteers a little love for all they contribute to help make our world a better place.

Often, when we think of volunteers, it's those involved in our program delivery who come to mind first.

Those generous folks on the front lines, delivering meals to isolated seniors, fostering kittens for your neighbourhood cat rescue, campaigning to protect the environment, or cuddling babies in your local neonatal intensive care unit (I know - coolest volunteer job ever!).

But there's another volunteer equally deserving of your love - those people who give their time, skills and money to help make sure your organization has the resources you need to deliver your mission.

Our beloved fundraising volunteers.

How do I love fundraising volunteers? Let me count the ways.. 

They bring passion to everything they do

I'll never forget a board chair I once worked with.

She had an unshakable passion for our mission to help women and children live free from abuse, and it shone through in everything she did.

Whether she was speaking to a room full of major donors, making a welcome call to a new monthly supporter, or writing a seemingly endless stack of thank you cards, her tireless enthusiasm never flagged.

How do you see the passion of your fundraising volunteers shine through? If you've noticed it’s been waning lately, can you help them reconnect with their motivation by sharing a moving story about someone you’ve helped, or inviting them to visit the front lines of your mission delivery?

They can open doors previously closed to you

No one can extend your reach and impact like a dedicated volunteer who's willing to open doors for you and your organization.

While volunteers who can make introductions to potential major donors are wonderful, broaden your thinking to include other influencers in their circles, such as community leaders.

No matter who they are, every fundraising volunteer has a personal network, and can help open doors to people from all walks of life who can be helpful to your organization.

When you're working with leadership volunteers like your board members, how are you enabling them to be more effective door openers and fundraisers? Do you have champions on your board who can role model this behavior for other board members? Can you provide additional training or support to help them feel more comfortable fulfilling this role?

They bring an air of legitimacy no staff person can match

Listen, I am ALL about well-trained, fairly paid fundraising professionals, so don't get me wrong here!

You could be the most experienced, ethical, and credentialed fundraiser out there - you still aren't going to match the air of legitimacy a senior volunteer lends to your fundraising efforts.

When you go out on a well thought out donor visit in partnership with a cabinet or board member, you are an unstoppable team. Having a senior volunteer by your side who can speak from the heart about why they got involved, and why they give? That's worth a thousand slick slide decks, my friend!

So, how do your volunteers help boost your fundraising success? Are you using volunteers effectively in your fundraising program, or do still have a ways to go? And if you're a fellow Canadian, will you be celebrating your fundraising volunteers during National Volunteer Week?

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