Recruiting and Retaining Outstanding Fundraising Volunteers
In your nominating committee, you will be seeking candor, and at the same time requiring a high level of confidentiality from your participants. It is essential that this is understood from the beginning. Welcome all suggestions at first, guiding the conversation to ensure there is a critical mass of candidates. Ultimately, you will need to rank and decide which candidates best meet your needs.
Now comes the actual recruitment effort. There are many models you can follow, and you might even find that for certain activities you will need to recruit differently from one project to another. This is the time when you must truly exercise the art of your work more than the science. For example, you might choose a highly formal approach whereby the CEO or equivalent sends a letter inviting candidates to “apply” for the volunteer job. Applications are then reviewed and candidates even interviewed. This might seem a little stuffy, but it demonstrates the seriousness with which you are approaching the process of recruitment.
At the other end of the spectrum could be a somewhat informal process in which members of the nominating committee begin inviting volunteers as soon as the meeting ends. It all depends on your organization and your personal style and comfort level.
Regardless of which approach you choose, it’s important that you never minimize the commitment you are requesting or the value provided by the job for which you are requesting volunteer help. Too often, nonprofit directors tell the candidate how little work they need to do because they fear asking for the substantial commitment they really need. Again, treat the prospective volunteer like a major prospective donor and you will be alongside those organizations that always enjoy fundraising success.
John A. Scola, CFRE, is executive director of development at the Catholic Diocese of Orange in California. He can be reached via www.rcbo.org