Let's Raise Some Money
Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

Ask Donors To Volunteer Time. Ask Volunteers To Donate Money.

January 7th, 2015 by Karen Climer

People who volunteer their time give more money than people who don’t volunteer.  So, it makes sense that we would ask volunteers to donate because volunteers give more money.  It also makes sense that we would ask donors to volunteers so that, as they volunteer more, they will give more money.

If you worked in nonprofits for even a short time, you have heard (or maybe even participated in) this conversation:

Development manager: Let’s ask the volunteers to donate money.

Volunteer manager: We can’t ask them to do that.  They already give their time.

Development manager: We’ll they can give both.

Volunteer manager: If we ask them for money, they might quit volunteering.  I can’t afford to lose Betty – she’s my best volunteer.

A variation of the conversation goes like this:

Executive director: We need all of our board members to give money.

Board president: We can’t ask them to do that.  They already give their time.

Executive director: We need them to give both time and money.

Board president: If we push too hard, we are going to lose board members.  And what about Lisa – we can’t ask her to give.  She just lost her job.

By the way, the reverse is rarely true.  If the volunteer manager suggests that we ask all donors to volunteer, usually no one feels the need to “protect” the donors.  We figure if the donors aren’t interested, they won’t volunteer.  But sometimes we feel the need to “protect” the volunteers from being asked to donate, as if asking for money is offensive.

If you really want to serve your organization, you need to ask donors to become more involved in your mission by volunteering. Likewise, ask volunteers to become more involved by donating.  It’s not our job to “protect” anyone from being asked.  It’s our job to give supporters the options of the ways they can become involved, and allow them to choose what works for them.

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