What kind of support do our volunteers need most?

Volunteers bring to us their commitment, enthusiasm, reputation, and relationships. As development professionals, what we can give them is the benefit of our knowledge and experience. To make our volunteers effective (which will keep them coming back), we need to ensure that they:

  1. Know the organization and its purpose
  2. Understand the case for support and the role of philanthropy
  3. Understand their role and assignments, and how they fit into the overall fundraising plan and strategy
  4. Know the prospect
  5. Understand the basic principles and techniques of asking for a gift

In working with volunteers, we can never forget that people give to people. For that reason, it’s more effective to provide experience than instruction. Plan to accompany your volunteer on his/her first visits with potential donors. Look for situations where the proposition is straightforward, and the probability of success is high. As your volunteer gains confidence, he/she will be able to handle more challenging scenarios.

Counsel can work with your organization to strengthen the functions that support all of the above elements, and integrate them into an effective program of volunteer recruitment, orientation, and training.


click here for a pdf version:  FRM61

For more on The Role of Volunteers, Developing Effective Fundraising Leaders, access Goettler Series Volume 10