Monday, August 27, 2012

Reasons To (And Not To) Have Your Volunteers Fundraise

More often than not, it's the paid staff of a nonprofit who will be responsible for asking donors for money. There are, however, very good reasons to have your volunteers involved in fundraising.

In her book "Successful Fundraising," Joan Flanagan wrote that organizations should consider dividing fundraising work between professionals and volunteers. She listed the following advantages to using volunteers as fundraisers:

  • Volunteers are free. It is a labor of love.
  • Your volunteers can come from diverse backgrounds to allow the organization to reach many different economic, professional, geographic, racial, religious, social, political, and civic networks.
  • They can work for the largest employers in your community, with hundreds or thousands of co-workers.
  • Some volunteers might have more time during the day, an ideal time to ask for money.
  • Volunteers can be more aggressive about asking for money for the staff’s salaries and benefits.
  • If volunteers raise the budget, the professionals become literally accountable to the elected leadership and constituents.
  • Asking for money is the acid test of leadership. If volunteers do the fundraising you get an accurate measure of who cares most about the organization.
This all sounds great, but Flanagan did note there are some potential problems:

  • They might hate doing it.
  • They might lack expertise about your issues.
  • Volunteers might not be dependable.
  • Control.
At the end of the day, it seems that using volunteers as fundraisers is a great idea. Just make sure to consider the negatives before making a final decision. For more information like this, visit the management tips section of our website.

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