Recruiting and Retaining Outstanding Fundraising Volunteers
2) Who is drawn toward our work?
3) Who are our advocates?
Throughout the recruitment process, there are two potentially dangerous situations that can arise. Nearly every nonprofit manager with some experience has negotiated these at one point or another, and they are somewhat tricky to deal with. The first is the problem of the nominal volunteer. This is the individual who simply is using your agency to pad his resume or advance himself personally. Sure, it’s great to have volunteers claim a portion of their fame through your work, but beware the volunteers for whom that is the prime motivation. The priorities simply are out of order and typically will not benefit your organization over the long term.
Next, beware of the volunteer with an identifiable and perhaps non-negotiable conflict of interest. For example, the person who owns a graphic-design company might step forward to serve on your board or committee simply to have a better opportunity to acquire business from your organization. In this instance, it’s critical that your organization have a clear conflict-of-interest policy.
Now that you know the characteristics you are seeking and the expectations you have of prospective volunteers, you need to determine where to look. Just like the major-gift process, the recruitment of volunteers is based on relationships. Consider the following sources as leads to help you identify your high-powered fundraising volunteers:
* Current volunteers
* Feasibility study participants
* Members, donors, alumni, friends, auxiliaries, etc.
* Community leaders
* Other volunteers
* Service club members
* Professional group members
* Event attendees
Understanding the value and importance of your recruitment efforts, it’s now time to treat the selection process with as much care and attention as you would the identification and solicitation of donors. Essentially, you will be inviting your target volunteers to make a gift of their time and talent to your efforts just as you invite prospective donors to join you in your philanthropic work. Use of a nominating committee is strongly encouraged.