July 5, 2016

To Generate More Revenue Build More Infrastructure

The American Cancer Society (ACS) depends on volunteers to help generate revenue. Most volunteers start through two events: the Relay for Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Many volunteers remain active for decades.

“The key,” said Ralph DeVitto, Executive Vice President for the Florida Division, “is to remain engaged with the volunteers.”

Staff at the American Cancer Society:

  • Organize internally so that staff links to a specific volunteer groups.
  • Urge volunteers to attend education events.
  • Encourage volunteers to use the ACS Volunteer Learning Center.
  • When staff turnover occurs, link volunteers to a centralized on-line support system.   

On whom do you depend for income? What infrastructure do you have to keep people who help you generate it engaged?  Do you have a plan for turnover?

Take a piece of paper. Invest five minutes and draw your plan. Note holes to fill. Note connections to re-enforce. Draw your way to sustainability and…profits!   

By the way, Hodgkinson and Weitzman conducted a study that found that 90 percent of volunteers contribute financially to the nonprofit for which they work. So, you can count on volunteers to contribute financially–even if you don’t depend on them to generate revenue like the American Red Cross.


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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