Listening to ideas encourages volunteer retention

Volunteer ideas come from people who are committed to mission success.
Date Published
09/24/2015

Volunteers have a lot to contribute to fundraising. Outside of their normal tasks, the people who donate their time to a nonprofit’s success may also want to share new ideas and strategies.

An organization may be hesitant to invest resources in untested changes to routines, but utilizing volunteer contributions may yield numerous benefits. By weighing the advantages of volunteer contributions and creating plans for implementation, a nonprofit may find a great fundraising strategy or piece of marketing content.

Engages volunteers
Volunteers want to feel like they have an impact on a nonprofit’s mission. The people who contribute to fundraising activities usually believe in what the organization is doing and want to help it succeed. If volunteers feel like their performance is inconsequential, they have no reason to stay.

The Fundraising Authority said nonprofit organizations should encourage enthusiasm and creativity. Nonprofits need to find a balance between standards and protocols and find places for volunteers to try something different. Planning procedures in a central nonprofit management software solution allows organizations to gain complete visibility of processes so they can find places and times to implement an experimental strategy.

An organization with very limited resources may wait for volunteer management software to display consistent trends before acting on new practices. If managers continuously log ideas into a central database, a nonprofit will see which suggestions are made over and over again. The organization can wait to shift fundraising strategies until there is a huge demand for new ideas.

An outside perspective
The Harvard Business review said many companies change routines based on consumer feedback. Organizations in the nonprofit sector don’t always have to respond to rapidly shifting markets, but they do want to understand what motivates donors and how audiences respond to fundraising marketing.

Volunteer groups are often made up of people who encountered nonprofit materials and were encouraged to contribute to the cause in any way they could. For example, volunteers who help public radio stations are usually listeners. If these people want to tell nonprofits what materials and strategies would work on them, organizations should be receptive to their ideas.

Nonprofits often encourage their volunteers to share materials and make donation requests to their network of connections. An organization’s volunteer force has great insight into what their friends and family would respond to.

Creating fundraising content
Organizations need to create a wealth of marketing content to promote upcoming fundraisers or other organization events. Nonprofits should have email campaigns, posters, community outreaches and social media postings. Volunteers can help create a diversity of materials.

Modern technology makes it easy for anyone to post content on public forums. Volunteers are a great source for materials that speak to a nonprofit’s mission, but are different from traditional marketing fare. For example, an organization’s blog posts can detail how nonprofit funds are used to help the community and volunteers can write about their first-hand experience working on projects.

Nonprofits can schedule marketing campaigns through a nonprofit software program. Systems with intelligent features help organizations coordinate messaging and deliver consistent content to audiences. Analyzing online viewer interaction helps nonprofits determine which materials are most effective. If volunteers create content, nonprofits can test how it performs.

Listen
Some volunteers are bursting with ideas, others, however, may be shy about voicing their insights. The Beth Kantor blog suggested nonprofits shouldn’t wait for volunteer contributions; organization should seek them out.

Nonprofits can help volunteers speak their ideas by asking the right questions. During interactions, organizations should use inquires that empower volunteers to use their voice. Nonprofits may try pairing questions with compliments. This indicates an organization appreciate donors’ service and the nonprofit is excited to learn more about what volunteers have to offer.

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