As empty nesters, my wife and I have more time to volunteer in our community. We really enjoy our volunteer time together - almost as much as vacation.
Recently, we responded to two requests for help. One community organization responded to my wife’s email the very same day. She got an email addressed directly to her that included three quick questions along with several resources and a short video on volunteering. Later that afternoon, the volunteer coordinator followed up with a phone call to my wife and engaged her in a nice comfortable conversation. Impressive!
I responded to the other request with an email offering our services and asking for next steps. That was weeks ago. Still waiting. What does this have to do with development and fundraising?
A lot, as it turns out. Research reveals that nearly twice the number (80%) of volunteers donate to charity as people who don't volunteer (40%).
There's another interesting twist to this story. The first organization we reached out to was new to us. We had never heard of them before we saw their request for volunteers. Their mission and their follow-through made quite an impression on my wife. Now we are both signed up for volunteer training.
The other offer to volunteer was to an organization I have donated to for 16 years. And now after all those donations and a response to their request for volunteer help, I’m sitting here waiting and wondering.
They both asked for help…but only one was prepared to act on it.
How ready are you to accept volunteer help? Do you have a process to identify the talents of volunteers? What is the training or orientation like? And how do you thank your volunteers? If you haven't thought into any of these questions recently, there's a good chance that you're turning away - or turning off - potential volunteers without even realizing it.
When we ask for help, we'd best be ready to take advantage of it.