Pro tip | Getting volunteers engaged in fundraising

publication date: Mar 4, 2020
author/source: Ann Rosenfield

No one likes to ask for money. Seriously, no one.

So how are you going to get your Board, your ED, your colleagues to ask if they don't want to do it?

The secret to getting your team involved in fundraising is to start getting them doing stewardship first.

Recently, my Board chair called a donor. She thanked the donor for their gift and then invited the donor to a special, private reception. That is a great way to collaborate with Board and to further fundraising. Stewardship is the easiest and most effective way to have an impact on donors and it is the area volunteers usually like the most.

Here is a chart by fundraising expert, Gail Perry, on the stages of fundraising - as you can see, Perry has four stages - only one involves asking. the other three do not.



But here is where the magic happens - the single most effective way to increase revenue and bolster donor retention is through stewardship - that green arrow in the chart marked "thank, thank, thank again." That part is amazing.

By participating in thanking, your Board is able to have meaningful conversations with donors that are engaging and enjoyable. Here are a few ways your Board can help steward donors

  • Send a thank you note (you prepare the envelope and stamp, they write the message)
  • Make a thank you call (give them a few talking points so that the call is smooth)
  • Send a thank you email
  • Make a short thank you video to send to the donor
  • Attend an organization event and thank donors (you provide them with a list of 1 or 2 people to seek out to thank)
  • Attend an organization donor stewardship event
  • Host a donor stewardship event at their home

These are just a few ways that Board members can help thank a donor. You may have other creative ways. Key is to have the Board member choose the methods of participating that are the best fit for them.

By thanking your donors well, you will boost retention and increase gift size. Importantly, you will also start Board members on the path to becoming comfortable with fundraising.

Ann Rosenfield is the Editor of Hilborn Charity eNews and also works as a front-line fundraiser. She volunteers as Board Vice Chair for Rainbow Railroad.


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