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Streamlining Donor Relationships: Turning Volunteers Into Donors

Can volunteers become donors for your nonprofit organization? The short answer is "definitely, yes."

The strong link between volunteers and donors is undeniable. In fact, volunteers are 67% more likely to become donors than the general population. The desire to become a donor stems from the same emotions, values, and beliefs as the drive to volunteer.

However, not all volunteers take advantage of the opportunity. It's up to the organization to make the process simple, fast, and satisfying. Let's take a closer look at converting volunteers to donors and making volunteer-donor relationships effective for your organization.

How to Turn Volunteers into Donors

With millions of Americans volunteering every year, the opportunities for cultivating donor relationships are tremendous. Today, 85% of volunteers consider donating money to non-profits. Usually, these are the nonprofits they volunteer for.

The road to volunteer donorship begins at the volunteer recruitment stage. From the moment you start looking for volunteers, you need to keep donor relationship management in mind. Positive experience with a non-profit is key to converting volunteers into donors, driving donor loyalty, and fostering retention.

Streamline the Recruitment Process  

Making a stellar first impression is the first step to turning volunteers into donors. Smooth recruitment and registration improve volunteer experience from the start and help them make a positive decision about donations in the future.

  • Create a straightforward registration page on your website
  • Make it easy for volunteers to understand your organization's values
  • Review scheduling to prevent overlaps
  • Always follow through with volunteers who register

The entire recruitment process has to be available online. Take another look at your website and volunteer registration tools. Everything has to be clear and easy to use while communicating your brand's voice and image.

Yes, the right approach to branding is key to donor engagement and retention. It begins the moment a potential volunteer visits your website.

Show Your Appreciation

Volunteers are a nonprofit organization's greatest asset. Make sure you let them know about it. Showing your appreciation is integral to making volunteers feel satisfied with their work and driving them to consider doing something extra for the organization.

Volunteer appreciation doesn't have to be complex or expensive. A simple "thank you" goes a long way. If you have the resources, you can organize end-of-project or end-of-year parties for volunteers.

When creating a volunteer recognition strategy, consider implementing public appreciation. While private emails and 'thank you" notes do a great job, the majority of people enjoy public acknowledgment.

Besides being an effective recognition tool, public acknowledgment drives motivation. It can help other volunteers stay onboard longer, work harder, and consider donation possibilities.

Reinforce the Culture of Giving

The same techniques you use for donor acquisition can work for converting volunteers to donors. One of them is working on the culture of giving within the organization.

As volunteers work on your project, they immerse themselves in the culture. If you manage to foster a philanthropic culture, you can encourage volunteer-donor conversions.

  • Foster personal relationships with volunteers and donors
  • Focus on donor retention
  • Work on volunteer and donor communication
  • Nurture donor relationships

Leading by example is an excellent way to reinforce the culture of giving. When all team members (staff and management) donate their time and money to the organization, they encourage volunteers to do the same.

Invest in Volunteer Experience

A fulfilling volunteer experience can go a long way toward encouraging donations to your non-profit organization. Without costing a fortune, the focus on volunteer experience makes the time with your organization satisfying and productive.  

  • Improve communication – Communicate with volunteers through emails, text message notifications, and volunteer management software. Whatever you use, it has to ensure fast communication.
  • Ask for feedback (and use it) – Ask volunteers to provide feedback about their experience and use this information to implement improvements. When volunteers see that you hear their voice, they are more likely to stay loyal to the organization.
  • Leverage incentives – While volunteering is, of course, voluntary, incentives to work harder and better can improve the experience. Common incentives for volunteers are discounts at local businesses, convenient scheduling, and professional development.
  • Encourage socialization – Creating a social environment for volunteers makes working for your organization something they can look forward to. This can include creating a special digital space for interactions, arranging team-building events, creating volunteer teams, and more.

Positive volunteer experience drives retention, which, in turn, helps a volunteer understand the importance of donorship.

Don't Forget to Ask

There isn't anything wrong with asking volunteers for donations. In fact, it's one of the easiest ways to build a transparent donor relationship. Being straightforward about your desire to turn volunteers into donors is important to building trust.

One of the reasons why your volunteers aren't donating money is simply because they don't know how and where to do it. Your goal is to make all the information readily available and accessible, preferably online.

Be Specific

When asking volunteers for donations, be specific about the cause. Asking for general donations is rarely effective. Instead of asking for $100 for a food program, tell volunteers about real people who can benefit from 50 meals that these $100 can buy. Personal stories are the best.

Educate Volunteers

Volunteers can become donors without giving your organization any money. All they have to do is tap into their employer's volunteer grants. Many volunteers don't know about this possibility, especially when volunteering in their free time.

Meanwhile, many corporations are willing to provide grants to non-profits where their employees regularly volunteer. Even if the company doesn't have the resources for a grant, they can provide employees time off for volunteering as part of their employee recognition programs.

This doesn't just make it easier for people to find time to volunteer. It encourages them to invest more effort in your organization.

Implementing Volunteer-Donor Conversion Strategies

Converting volunteers into donors is easier than acquiring donors from the outside. These people are already invested in your cause. All you have to do is show them that it's worth going the extra mile.

The key to cementing donor relationships with volunteers is encouraging them to donate in the most transparent way possible. This involves clear volunteer communication and effective management.

Galaxy Digital's volunteer management solutions make it easier to convert volunteers into donors while fostering loyalty, satisfaction, and retention. To learn more, schedule a free demo today.

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