Celebrating Your Volunteers
Chuck wants his volunteer crew to always be at the top of its game — full of passion and commitment.
Passion, commitment to the cause — these are the rock-bottom essentials in effective fundraising. It's really not about the "skill' of asking. If you have the fire, and have made your own gift, it doesn't take much skill coaching to be successful.
Each year, Chuck goes to the effort of bringing all of his volunteers in a dinner meeting/retreat, which is the kickoff of their efforts. Most of what transpires is what you'd expect. There's the greeting of old friends. The assignments and solicitation materials are distributed.
Food and drink lubricate the gears.
The focus of the evening is when Chuck takes the podium to personally thank the volunteers for their continued effort. As a thank-you, he introduces a motivational speaker he has brought in from the outside.
He spends a little money to bring in someone good. Someone who can relate to the crowd and inspire. Someone who comes at it from a different, sometimes unconventional, angle.
The volunteers love it. They get to touch and feel something — and someone — different, exciting. They get a fresh perspective, not merely the company line.
They leave the evening knowing that they're really appreciated. It's not about the free food, the trinkets or even the platitudes. They love hearing a message that rekindles the fire, their real reason for being there. It's even better that it's a third-party endorsement. There's nothing like it.
When I was speaking with Chuck I sensed his love and gratitude for his crew. He's been there only five years even as a number of the volunteers are counting their 20th.
Kudos to Chuck and those dedicated development professionals like him. Those who know — and believe — that it's about people, not money. Odd thing about that — he's exceeded every annual goal since he's arrived.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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