Asking for money generally terrifies people. Asking supporters to become volunteer fundraisers can also be challenging. Recently, some of us at Rally attended “Supporting Volunteer Fundraisers” a presentation organized by the Foundation Center with all-star panelists Jeri Howland, Deb Stallings, Danielle Thomas, and Karen Topakian. Here are three take away strategies for recruiting, empowering and rewarding volunteer fundraisers, or as we call them here at Rally, fan fundraisers.
1. Recruit the right Fan Fundraisers
Not every volunteer is a donor, and not every donor is a volunteer. Finding the most effective fan fundraisers, however, will be a combination of both. Donors who become fundraisers are more likely to be comfortable with ‘the ask’, and can make a far more personal appeal.
Other highly effective fan fundraisers to recruit are board members. They are already donors and volunteers, and generally have strong network and a large address book of people they are comfortable to reach out to. Empowering board members with both a platform to solicit donations and a quota to meet often leads to successful campaigns.
Alternatively, you might consider using volunteer sourcing websites like idealist.org and Volunteermatch. Many people want to help but don’t know where to start. Focus these people on tactical fundraising campaigns and prioritize your volunteers with your immediate goals.
The skills you need to look for in fan fundraisers are passion and engagement. It is better to reject volunteers that are not passionate about your cause than take them on board and put your time and effort into training —only to see them walk away a month later.
2. Empower Fan Fundraisers for success
Fan fundraisers are often self-selected. Making fan fundraising as easy for them as possible.
Give your volunteers a prep session about collecting donations for your cause so that they are as excited and as comfortable talking about your cause as they are about their favorite book or movie. Many organizations offer regular training sessions with fundraisers and board members to stay up to date on best fundraising practices and keep everyone motivated.
Build structure around your fan fundraiser program for monitoring, reminders, and check-ins. Ask your fan fundraisers to do something specifically, and give them the option to say they don’t have time so that expectations are all understood.
Most of all, talk about fundraising CONSTANTLY. Everyone needs to realize that without fundraising, all of the other items on your agenda cannot happen. From the moment you meet a new volunteer, want them to understand that being a part of the organization is not just the fun stuff relating to your mission, but relies on fundraising. Remind people that fundraising is on the table all year—even if you are only making official asks twice a year.
3. Reward Fan Fundraisers
Volunteers support your organization for many reasons. A good cause leader is constantly aware of motivational cues, and learns how to apply rewards and praise to bring out the best in their team. Sincere appreciation is important. Appreciation from your leadership is desirable.
Even better is appreciation from those who benefit from your cause’s existence. Personal thank you notes can bring meaning to a sometimes thankless task.
Nominate your fundraisers for internal or external rewards, and recognize progress constantly. Many fundraisers respond well to leaderboards and other public displays of effectiveness.
Always communicate regularly what is happening over the course of a campaign, and let fan fundraisers know how they personally have contributed to theprogress.
Effective fan fundraising can mean the difference between success and failure to your cause. Empower your fan fundraisers to align their motivations, capabilities, and networks of people with your cause, and when it all comes together, great things will happen!
Did you know you can Fan Fundraise on Rally? Anyone can click “Help Fundraise” on any Rally Page and in minutes be fundraising for your cause.