There are many reasons to appreciate your volunteers. This selfless group of individuals gives their time and talents to propel your mission forward.
While the time commitment of a volunteer may range from a one-day project to a board seat, many nonprofits neglect to leverage their volunteers in assessing community needs, setting organizational strategy, and fundraising. We believe this is an opportunity missed!
Simone Joyaux, in her book Strategic Fund Development: Building Relationships that Last, states the importance of inviting volunteers into strategic conversations. She writes, “Planning committee members challenge your organization by asking the tough questions. Don’t just recruit board members and other insiders. Seek new perspective and expertise in your community.” Inviting volunteers to join strategic committees is one way to do this.
1. Volunteers can assess community needs.
A Community Needs Assessment identifies un-met and under-met needs in your organization’s service area and suggests how you can best address those needs within the parameters of your mission.
Your volunteers live and work in the same community where your nonprofit provides services, and their opinions and experiences can challenge your status quo and bring a fresh perspective.
2. Volunteers can help set organizational direction.
Volunteers can help plan and achieve your mission’s goals.
Invite volunteers to join your Planning Task Force, a 7-10 member group that ensures your plans are community-owned and have community commitment. Their outside perspective will help you create a Plan that is on-mission, needed in the community, and achievable.
3. Volunteers can help you raise money.
There are 5 Ways Volunteers Can Impact Your Fundraising
Volunteers have a unique perspective on your case for impact. Let them share why people should give in their own words! Hand them the mic at a fundraising event or ask them to take over your social media account for a day.
Volunteers help identify new donors or volunteers and make strategic introductions.
Volunteers extend the impact of your nonprofit organization’s paid staff by setting meetings, making asks, helping with stewardship initiatives.
Volunteers willingly share their credibility and network with you.
The enthusiasm generated by volunteers is contagious. Whenever you’ve seen a viral fundraising campaign, it’s due to volunteers extending the message.
No matter how you decide to leverage your volunteers’ time and talents, remember this: “Volunteers must be meaningfully involved, properly recognized, and given a sense of importance," writes Timothy Seiler in Achieving Excellence in Fundraising. "They must be made to feel that they are an important part of a worthwhile team serving a worthwhile program.”
As nonprofit leaders and consultants, we have a responsibility to create this type of experience.
Are you looking for new ways to improve your volunteer programs and make the most of their donated time and talents? Arthur Alley can help. Reach out for more information about our Mission Planning Study service and how a Task Force of volunteers can propel your ministry forward.
“The single most significant differentiating factor (of the consultants considered) was the insistence by Arthur Alley that a team of community leaders and stakeholders meet on a regular basis to discuss both current perceptions of The Salvation Army Lansing Capital Area and the subsequent use of that same group to help shape recommendations based on the findings of the study. That piece of the study accomplished exactly what it was intended to do. The value of Arthur Alley's role in helping change the perception of The Salvation Army Lansing Capital Area in the minds of community leaders and stakeholders cannot be understated.”
- Major Jim Irvine, Area Commander; The Salvation Army Lansing, MI