Fundraising Resolution No. 3 (Volunteering): Who, Me?!?!
If you are considering being a volunteer, especially if you are looking at a position on a board, take time to carefully review the IRS 990 form. Make sure you agree with the way the organization is managed and how it uses its money. Like all relationships, entering into a board position with the expectation that you will be able to “fix” it once you’re together is the first step to relationship failure.
Do the people assembling the mailing hear later how much money it raised? Do your board members get to hear notes from donors who talk about how glad they are to be part of the work by giving? Are your program volunteers sharing in the kudos your organization receives, and are they praised for their role in those commendations? Don’t simply list your volunteers’ names in the newsletter; instead take time to tell them one on one what positive things happened because of their service.
If you are a volunteer, ask about the results of your work. How much money was saved and made available for the mission as a result of what you did? Was the organization able to do more as a result of your investment of time?
I know this isn’t the all-inclusive list; it’s more my top three pet peeves! And none of them are universal — I have very high regard for people who are fabulous at managing volunteers. When I hear that someone has been volunteering at the same nonprofit for 10, 15, 20 years, I know there is a person on staff who is doing a good job showing that volunteer how much difference he or she is making.
Please use the comments section to share your thoughts and pass along tips to your fellow fundraisers, as well.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.