3 Secrets for Converting Volunteers to Donors

The latest release of Volunteering and Civic Life in America shows that volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers. In fact, almost 80 percent of volunteers donated to a worthy cause last year.

It makes sense that volunteers are probably your warmest leads for donations, but is your nonprofit maximizing its potential when fundraising among your volunteers?

If the answer here is no, read on for an easy approach to converting volunteers to donors.

1. Implement volunteer management software

Implementing a cloud-based volunteer management solution reduces the need for your organization to maintain costly computer hardware and simplifies volunteer communication (also makes it possible to “talk” to other systems, as we’ll explore next). Make sure you select a system that offers nimble communication functionality, namely automatic email reminders, bulk texting, and mobile device integration.

2. Integrate your volunteer data system with a fundraising software

You might be thinking, “What fundraising software?” If so, you’re not alone. At VolunteerHub we recently surveyed 200 nonprofits regarding donor management best practices. The data revealed that only half of those organizations surveyed utilize a constituent relationship management (CRM) product, such as Blackbaud’s The Raiser’s Edge. It’s therefore not surprising that over 30 percent of survey respondents identified “connecting volunteer and donor information” as the biggest challenge to their organization.

donor management study volunteerhub

Implementing and connecting your volunteer management application and fundraising system allows you to sync all volunteer data into your CRM. In doing so, all of your volunteers become potential donors. Integration also trims down the time involved with manual entry and streamlines donation tracking.

Handy hint: Do your homework if you are purchasing either or both of the systems mentioned above. Make sure to ask about integration options between volunteer and fundraising platforms. Ensure that the vendor offers true integration and not a glorified import/export process that can be time-consuming.

3. Personalize the experience

The path to increased donations begins with your personal interactions. Offer and publicize engaging opportunities (see how VolunteerHub users do this), then take time to nurture new relationships. Make a point to learn names and engage with them on a personal level. Strike up conversations with your volunteers to learn more about them, and, in turn, share additional information about your mission. And, of course, when an event is over, always find ways to give thanks and recognize their efforts.

So, there it is. Converting volunteers to donors is really all about being organized, advertising your volunteer opportunities, and making a connection with those awesome individuals who give their time to your nonprofit. Once volunteers feel truly involved with your mission, they will also realize the impact of your organization. This creates a crucial turning point. Now, when your nonprofit shares the associated costs of your programs with these invested volunteers, they are much more likely to donate not just their time, but also their dollars, to your cause.

Download Our Study of 200 Nonprofits >

Corbit Harrison is the Chief Operating Officer for VolunteerHub. Connect with Corbit on Linkedin.

John Haydon