3 Tips for Converting Volunteers to Donors

Your volunteers are some of your most committed advocates. Day in and day out, volunteers contribute over $28 per hour (AUD) in donated time to your organisation.

While you are certainly grateful for this contribution of time, wouldn’t it be nice if you could also convert some (or all) of your volunteers to financial donors?

In this article, we will offer three specific steps that not for profits can take to encourage volunteers to also contribute financially.

Tip 1: Make Sure Volunteers Feel Appreciated

Research shows that volunteers who understand the importance of their work are also the most likely to stay engaged. Your organisation should go out of its way to communicate this value and make volunteers feel appreciated.

To achieve this goal, effective not for profit organisations develop volunteer engagement strategies. Such strategies may include:

  • Sending personalised welcome and thank-you emails to volunteers
  • Personalising the volunteer experience with customised name tags and recognition awards
  • Talking to volunteers on the day of your event
  • Distributing letters to volunteers, explaining the value of their contributions
  • Texting volunteers with valuable event information
  • Allowing volunteers to self-register for events that appeal to them

By making your volunteers feel welcomed and appreciated, your organisation can connect on a much deeper level. In addition, volunteers will feel more inclined to participate in future events.

Tip 2: Stay Connected with Volunteers

To effectively make volunteers feel appreciated, excellent record keeping is a necessity. While spreadsheets or handwritten volunteer sign in sheets can be helpful, event-focused organisations must continuously seek more effective means for managing volunteers.

A recent study of 151 not for profits found that organisations using volunteer management software are nearly twice as likely to rate their volunteer processes as “efficient” (as compared to organisations not using volunteer management software).

By deploying a volunteer management system, your organisation can automate many of the manual processes associated with organising volunteers. Scheduling, registration, hour tracking, and event reminders can be streamlined into a single, web-based system. Gain additional economies of scale by connecting your volunteer system to your CRM. Doing so ensures that your data is accurate and helps you identify those volunteers who have not yet contributed financially.

Tip 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

By personalising the volunteer experience and by deploying better record keeping, your organisation should be in an excellent position to make the ask. At this point, it may be wise to run a few reports and identify volunteers who have contributed many hours but have not made financial donations. Once identified, develop a special campaign designed to convert these volunteers to donors. A combination of direct mail, email, and phone calls is an effective way to ask.

Just be careful not to overdo it. Some volunteers may not be in the position to contribute financially, and you don’t want to scare them off from volunteering again. If a volunteer declines your request to make a financial contribution, be polite and reiterate your appreciation for his or her volunteer track record. You might even mention your next big event and encourage him or her to register.

Take the Next Step

Converting volunteers to donors is a worthwhile initiative for your organisation. In doing so, you can boost your cash flow, while engaging volunteers on a whole new level. Your volunteers will feel even more connected to your cause after donating their hard earned dollars. It’s a win-win.

About Corbit Harrison

Corbit Harrison is VolunteerHub’s Chief Operating Officer and has been actively helping not for profit organisations engage constituents for over 10 years.

To learn more about VolunteerHub, click here.