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Looking Beyond the Board For Champions, Fundraisers

Resource Center - Foundation

Fundraising is about relationships, and yet many organizations overlook their volunteers as potential donors and advocates for the organization. Amy Eisenstein, CFRE, president of Tri-Point Fundraising, maintains that the more advocates and fundraising volunteers your organization has working on its behalf, the better off it will be.

“We’ve been programmed to focus on our board as our chief advocates and champions, and they rightly should be,” says Eisenstein. “But our program volunteers are already committed to our organizations, and being engaged with our programs doesn’t exclude them from fundraising. If we spend just a little time examining other volunteers already engaged with our organization, we can probably identify a number of individuals who can be outstanding advocates for our cause.”

Eisenstein says that most organizations can make significant headway in finding new donors and champions by spending just two hours per week identifying and cultivating existing volunteers beyond the board of directors. She’ll provide fundraisers with concrete ideas, practical steps and how-to lists during her webinar, How to Turn Your Volunteers (Board and Non-Board Members) into Great Fundraisers, on Oct. 4 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Eisenstein also has written a blog about the topic as well: 5 Simple Steps to Turn Volunteers into Fundraisers (available for everyone). Email her your question or challenge about turning volunteers into fundraisers, and she’ll address your issue directly during her webinar!

“When you use volunteers, you leverage your time and resources so effectively because your volunteers have outreach into community networks that you might never have on your own,” says Eisenstein. “If you set up a program similar to what you do with your board, you’ll find some great candidates who can get involved in fundraising—in some way—for your organization and who might want to potentially serve on your board in the future.”

But non-board volunteers have to be approach differently than board volunteers. Board members are expected—or should be expected—to help out with fundraising. With non-board volunteers, Eisenstein says, you have to present a list of actionable choices and work with them to see where they might serve best. “You’re cultivating like you would a donor, but in this case, instead of asking for money, you’re asking for their time and service.”

Sometimes, the opportunities are right before us, but haven’t been utilized. Eisenstein notes as an example a chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters that wasn’t leveraging its “big brother” volunteers. “They were simply involved in the program side, which of course was wonderful, but they had never been approached in any fashion about making a contribution or serving in other capacities for the organization,” she says. “Many of them were excited to be asked to serve in another capacity and be able to tell others about the organization, and they turned out to be a wonderful resource.”

As an AFP Master Trainer, Eisenstein is excited about the webinar and what she can offer to participants. “One of my skills as a trainer is breaking things down into doable tasks and concrete steps,” she says. “If you’re looking for action items and how-to lists, that’s what you’re going to get in my webinar.”

How to Turn Your Volunteers (Board and Non-Board Members) into Great Fundraisers will take place on Oct. 4 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. During the webinar, Eisenstein will help participants identify and recruit appropriate volunteers for fundraising; develop clear roles and expectations for fundraising volunteers; and create a list of 10 new ways to use their volunteers for fundraising. For more information, click here.

Have questions and/or challenges about how to use volunteers effectively? Ask Amy and she’ll address your questions in her webinar!

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