4 Techniques for turning volunteers into donors at year-end

July 1, 2021 | Grace Duginski
4 Techniques for Turning Volunteers into Donors at Year-End
From our friends at Mobilize: a division of EveryAction

Volunteers are 2x more likely to donate to an organization than non-volunteers, so if you’re not cultivating them now in order to turn volunteers into donors at year-end, you’re leaving money on the table! Whether your organization has a thriving volunteer program or is just beginning to explore this type of supporter engagement, you can lay the groundwork now to convert that volunteer energy to financial support later in the year.

1. Donor conversion starts at the beginning of a volunteer’s experience: recruitment and registration.

A positive experience at the beginning of a volunteer’s journey with your organization sets the tone for all future interactions, so take care to prioritize stewardship even during the recruitment process.

When promoting a volunteer opportunity to your existing supporters and donors, provide all of the details that they need to feel good about RSVPing “yes,” including the total run time of the event, COVID safety precautions you’ll take, and accessibility information.

Pro tip: looking to recruit new supporters into your volunteer program? EveryAction’s Mobilize.us network allows organizations to tap into a rapidly growing web with millions of dedicated volunteers looking for their next cause to support. Promoting to this public network increases registrations by 40%!

The registration process can make or break your volunteer recruitment efforts. A streamlined, convenient process will always secure more supporters for your event or campaign than a clunky one that takes too long or simply doesn’t work. Make sure that signing up takes only a few clicks, and automate email and text messages to thank them for signing up and remind them as the event draws near. Finally, make it easy for registered volunteers to share your event with their own friends and networks, extending your recruitment reach and further improving their volunteer experience.

Pro tip: EveryAction’s Mobilize volunteer platform provides nonprofits with the ability to fundraise immediately through post-signup donation asks. Over 100,000 grassroots donations have been initiated after supporters sign up and at other key points in the supporter journey. After a supporter cancels an RSVP is another great time to prompt for a donation.

2. Show extra volunteer appreciation as year-end gets closer.

Cultivation is part of every successful donor conversion, and for volunteers it’s especially critical that they don’t see a request for donations as a suggestion that their time and effort has not been appreciated.

To prepare for a successful donation pitch at year-end, take extra care to acknowledge your supporters for the critical roles they play in your organization’s success. During and after each event, acknowledge and thank your volunteers for their support, and call out key individuals by name when appropriate. As the big giving days get closer, devote extra energy to volunteer appreciation—hosting a special party or virtual celebration for volunteers, sending handwritten thank-you notes, or having one-on-one coffee meetings can go a long way toward ensuring positive responses.

Pro tip: Use tools like EveryAction’s Engagement Points to easily track volunteers’ engagement history, prioritize your most engaged supporters, and send personalized thank you messages to show that you value every bit of their support.

3. Make effective, personalized asks to convert volunteers into donors.

Once you’re ready to make the ask, here are three steps to mobilize your volunteers to fund your mission.

Start with a personalized thank-you.
Show your volunteers that you know how and appreciate how much they have already contributed to your organization. When you’re asking a volunteer to make a gift, you might send them a message like this:
Hi Jane!
First of all, thank you so much for being such an amazing volunteer. With your help, we’ve been able to complete over 4,983 calls to at-risk seniors across the state to ensure that they have access to essential services while self-isolating and social distancing

Illustrate specific needs.
Don’t assume that volunteers are already aware of your funding needs, even if they’re well versed on other aspects of your work. Take the opportunity to give them a “peek under the hood” into your budget, and highlight the work that will be funded by their gifts.
Before COVID-19, our organization had already been delivering 110 million meals to 1.7 million seniors each year. However, throughout the last year we’ve seen more seniors face food insecurity than ever.
The costs and efforts needed to ensure that no senior in our community goes hungry require additional emergency funds, and we’re trying to raise $100,000 by December 31st so that we can deliver an additional 12,000 meals.

Show why donations and volunteer hours are important.
Your volunteers are already excited to support your organization’s work, all you need to do is show them why financial support is needed alongside their volunteer efforts.
As a volunteer, you’re one of our most powerful advocates for ending senior hunger, and you’ve seen first-hand the impact this work has on our community. In one week, our organization is participating in a global day of giving to continue to fund our meal-delivery program. We’re $10,000 away from reaching our goal, and we need your help to ensure that we can continue to provide this life-saving service.

4. Turn your volunteers into fundraisers.

Each of your volunteers has a unique network of friends, family, and coworkers who often share their beliefs and values. Give your volunteers the right tools and support, and you can convert them into donors and empower them to fundraise on your behalf. Peer-to-peer fundraisers are an opportunity to increase revenue, engage your volunteers more deeply and bring in new support for your organization.

Pro tip: built-in bring-a-friend features make it easy for volunteers to invite their networks to volunteer, donate, and more. EveryAction’s Mobilize network effect means volunteers can connect with their own friends and fellow supporters more efficiently. More than 20% of supporters who have taken action through Mobilize have come from one of our bring-a-friend features, and almost 40% of supporters have taken action with the same people multiple times.

Volunteers have already demonstrated commitment to your organization’s mission, and by providing them with a smooth and seamless volunteer experience, showing appreciation for their efforts, and offering clear opportunities to donate and fundraise, you can channel that commitment and energy toward super-charging your year-end fundraising.

With support from the right platform, you can see every action a supporter has taken with your organization all in one place, making it easy to segment lists based on volunteer and donation history. This will help you to easily provide personalized donor experiences that optimize fundraising outcomes at year-end and beyond. Talk to us to learn more.