As a nonprofit organization, your company probably rejoices every time a volunteer signs on to help out. As difficult as finding wiling volunteers can be, securing donations can often be even harder. You may feel as though you’re selling yourself, your organization, and your deeds at all times in order to reel in one or two more givers, but maybe that’s the problem. You shouldn’t need to sell generosity at all. By subtly changing the way your community views giving, you could end up with all the help and funds you need.
Once you have volunteers on your staff helping out each day, you’re probably ready to call it a day. After all, getting them to sign away their free time takes a lot. Instead of stopping there, start focusing on how you’ll show those volunteers how great it feels to give every day.
Acknowledgment really is the most powerful payment you can give. Whether you send thank you notes from your organization or gather all the people who benefit from your volunteers each to make a video, the important thing is simply that you do something. Anything. Let those volunteers know how much you appreciate their generosity. This will inspire more giving.
Think for just a moment. Do you really know your volunteers? Have you taken the time to learn about their goals, hopes, and dreams? Do you know their families? If you can’t answer these and a hundred other questions about each volunteer, you’re missing out.
In addition to simple acknowledgment, you should show your volunteers you care by really getting to know them. Not only will you form lasting relationships that might just come back to help you in the future, but you’ll also continue inspiring their giving right here in the present.
On the opposite side of the public acknowledgment coin is the public request. Any time you make a show of requesting donations of money, goods, or time, you’ll get a better result. People love to be considered generous, so when others are watching, they might just reach a little further into that pocket.
As an added bonus, those watching the generosity of others will feel compelled to give, too. Not only do we like to appear generous, but humans apparently also have a pretty competitive streak, too. That’s why this method works very well for auctions and other competitions.
Sometimes a simple request is the best way to inspire giving. Of course, there is still a little psychology involved. If a volunteer can no longer serve, ask if you can count on a monetary donation each year instead. If a donor is well known for contributing a certain amount each year, ask if you can write them down for $100 more this year.
Many people have a sincere desire to give back. By asking for what you need, you challenge them to do more. Don’t assume you’re pushing too hard. They may enjoy the chance to throw in just a little extra.
Of these, the most important is acknowledgment. No one wants to continue contributing if they feel their efforts aren’t appreciated. Make a point of consistent and constant shows of gratitude.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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