Do you have a question to ask me? Email me, Andrea Kihlstedt, at firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to be featured in the column!
Now, let’s get to this month's important question about the effectiveness of building a volunteer program to spark fundraising results.
You are right, when people volunteer, they are more likely to become engaged and contribute. But that's a very long way to go about raising money!
Frankly, it made me tired to think about that as a fundraising strategy. It's simpler, more effective and easier (really!) just to start asking people to contribute and making sure you let them know about the impact of their gifts.
But to make sure that my simpler philosophy wasn't too colored by my long career in capital campaign fundraising, I posed your question to my friend and colleague, the very wise Gail Perry. You'll see that she had a similar visceral response:
Wow, Andrea, just thinking about that makes me feel tired. I would not initiate a volunteer committee as a fundraising strategy. You'll waste time and effort without a lot of return.
What is the highest payback of your time and energy?
I'll tell you -- it's developing a regular fundraising program that will build on itself each year. With a timetable, a calendar of scheduled activities, some systems and infrastructure. It's starting out with mailing and email appeals and small coffees to spread the word.
So there you have it, Michaeline.
Don't create a volunteer program as a way of building your fundraising program. Instead, build a fundraising program. And don't forget to ask for gifts as often as you can. If you ask people to contribute to a program that makes a real impact, they'll be inclined to give whether or not they are volunteers.
With thanks to Gail Perry whose advice is always spot on!
What fundraising questions do you have?
Send your questions to Andrea at email@example.com.