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5 steps to more volunteers (and more donations)

volunteer here sign

A 2014 report by Fidelity Charitable found that 42% of Americans volunteer before they give to an organization. A rewarding volunteering experience can easily create not only committed volunteers, but willing donors. Oftentimes, the chance to get to know an organization through a time commitment can translate into monetary donations if volunteers move away or become too busy to give their time.

In 2016, an estimated 63 million Americans spent time volunteering, totaling 8 billion hours of service that was worth $193 billion to the organizations. If you’re hoping to increase your nonprofit’s volunteer numbers, we’ve got a few suggestions on how to do so. This volunteer increase can also translate to more donations for your nonprofit!

1. Admit you need the help

A great first step to finding more volunteers making the decision to be vocal about needing extra hands. Every nonprofit needs volunteers, no matter the consistency, and it’s important to let your donors, staff, board, supporters and online followers know you need their help in the form of volunteering (as well as donating) to achieve your goals!

2. Use your team

Talk to your board members at the next meeting or hold a meeting with your nonprofit staff to discuss your nonprofit’s need for volunteers. In each meeting, collaborate with attendees to create a list of contacts among yourselves of potential volunteers. These could be clients, family members, relatives, alumni of your charity’s programs, friends or neighbors. Then ask your contacts to reach out to their own contacts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 41% of volunteers committed simply because they were asked to do so, and that’s the least your board members and staff can do.

3. Recruit online

Companies now post job opportunities almost exclusively online--why not post your volunteer opportunities there as well? Volunteer matching sites are the new equivalent of job searching sites. A few of the top sites include Idealist, Volunteer Solutions and VolunteerMatch. You can also use LinkedIn to recruit volunteers. Be sure to also check online for sites that match volunteers to nonprofits in your specific region or metro area.

4. Use your social channels

Use those following your social channels to your advantage. Put out calls for volunteers with a description of how often you’d need them to commit to serving and what the tasks would be. Share photos of volunteers in action, if you have them, so followers receive an insight into what they would be doing. Post fun facts or benefits of volunteering (Studies have proven a link between volunteering and increased personal happiness and higher self esteem) to catch your audience’s attention and help them see how giving their time could be beneficial.

5. Ask your donors for participation

It’s likely that you already have the contact information for your past and present donors. This can be used to your advantage when it comes to asking for volunteers. Your donors have already pledged their support to you by giving their money. By asking them to volunteer, you would be allowing them the opportunity to give their time. For those one-time donors, the opportunity to serve by giving their time may be something they are more willing to do. The same goes for those who donate irregularly or have less money to give. Volunteering may even inspire them to give again!

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Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Since founding 4aGoodCause in 1998, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves - building software that makes a difference in the world. For almost 20 years, Ronald and the 4aGoodCause online fundraising platform have helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofits from Maine to Hawaii. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @4aGC.

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