July 14, 2017

Fundraising Alchemy: Turning Your Volunteers into Donors

As a videographer runs the camera, a donor explains why she included a bequest to Selby Gardens in her estate plans. Her gift will buy potting soil and supplies. As a volunteer, she experienced first-hand the Gardens’ practical needs. So, she remembered Selby in her will.

Nonprofits generate great opportunities. Some of these include the chance to transform volunteers into donors. Often the process transformation involves multiple routes, maneuvering hairpin turns, and traffic lights.  Here’s an overview.

Green Lights

• Since your potential donors already volunteer, you can create numerous opportunities to invite, encourage, and help them become financial philanthropists.
• Many of your volunteers already “fund” practical needs. They purchase supplies, such as potting soil. These in-kind gifts indicate motivation, means, and a willingness to act when they perceive value.

Alchemy That Turns Volunteers into Cash and Asset Donors

People give because they calculate, consciously or not, that the gift provides them more value than other options. To turn volunteers into donors, be intentional. Identify the value you’ll offer your donors. Decide how to turn to make cash or asset gifts no-brainers. Design and conduct campaigns to turn your volunteers into donors around your worth.

Hairpin Turn

Many volunteers believe that their time is enough. Despite your brilliant case and masterful campaign, some individuals will not budge. Turn carefully here. Recognize these volunteers’ contributions. Work with their mindset to benefit you both. With volunteers who give time only, focus on recommending bequests to support the value they’re giving now –forever.

What’s on Your Video?

Lots of your volunteers, when motivated and educated, will give cash and assets to your mission. Visualize a movie of a donor explaining why they give. What did he or she say? Help your volunteers to lead better lives, invite them to donate.

Read more about how everyone has a role in fundraising in Let’s Raise Nonprofit Millions Together. You can find more information, including a free chapter here.


Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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