Volunteer Sign Ups for Dummies

One perk of my New Year’s resolution to attend 12 fundraising events this year has been the opportunity to learn how others are managing volunteers. As I am now supervising a VISTA Volunteer Coordinator,  we are both taking lots of notes and trying to up our game in the area of volunteer recruitment and engagement.

One thing I have found to be helpful is an online registration like this one from Community Servings and Sign Up Genius, used by the Myles Standish Marathon. For a no cost and low time investment option, there is also always EventBrite with each volunteer opportunity being a different “ticket” type. As a volunteer, I appreciate knowing exactly what i am getting into, such as signing up to direct runners at the ranger http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/xanax/ station from 9:45-10:30 a.m. It avoids the back and forth that would otherwise occur with every interested volunteer about what is needed and when. From my end, I am more likely to commit to a concrete task in the moment when I am considering volunteering and I also think that the knowledge of serving a specific purpose can keep folks committed when the big day comes and they are faced with an overwhelming desire to flake out and go home to their dog. (Yes, I did do that once.)

In the end, it really comes down to our desire to feel needed, and these registration systems immediately assign us a much needed job to do. Sounds like a great first step towards longer-term engagement, eh?


Quick Tip, LinkedIn Edition

I have always felt guilty about not doing more constituent engagement through LinkedIn. It seems so obvious – there are our donors, board members, volunteers, and all of their networks! At one point I took over a not-at-all-utilized Friends of ZUMIX LinkedIn group with very lofty aspirations. I invited a bunch of new people, and then did nothing else.

This morning I got the one tip I have been looking for – a way to engage in a meaningful way that http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/ativan/ doesn’t require continuous maintenance – at a HandsOn Tech Boston workshop on social media for nonprofits.

Mike Byrnes, presenter and ESC consultant, suggested using the recommendations feature to acknowledge the work of Board members, volunteers, and active donors. By doing so, you can publicly offer a sincere thank you, give that person a professional boost to their profile, and also get your organization some added LinkedIn visibility. Triple win!

The Art of Herding Cats

I am very excited for the arrival of our VISTA Volunteer Coordinator in early August.  However, I must admit that I am a little anxious to supervise someone in this role, given that I have never focused on volunteer coordination outside of a specific event or board committees.  While a lot of what goes into donor stewardship can apply to long-term volunteer engagement, I do want to set the VISTA up for a successful year in which she gains marketable experience.  And so I am asking you all to send me any tips, tricks, or resources that you have found helpful and I will be sure to share them.  Below are a few things I am planning to pass on to her.

96 Ways to Thank http://www.montauk-monster.com/pharmacy Your Donors – Not exactly rocket science, but a reminder that a creative “thank you” goes a long way.  And in general, Volunteer Match will go into our weekly reading rotation.

Idealist’s Volunteer Management Resource Center, because isn’t Idealist ALWAYS awesome and helpful?

A Volunteer Management guide from System for Adult Basic Education Support (SABES).  This will be directly relevant to our volunteers, but the principles are certainly transferable.

And, of course I hope to introduce her to those of you who are already Kick Ass Volunteer Managers.  If you are able to help out a new colleague, send me an email!




Urban Dictionary defines a “Yes Man” as “‘a person who agrees to every opportunity they come across, no matter how crazy it may seem and they do not weigh the consequences.”

I bet you know a fundraiser who fits this description. For development folks, it can be hard to pass up an opportunity, especially when we look at those financial statements every month. After all, our job is basically to raise as much money as possible. But perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned  over the past four years is that oftentimes you need to do less to raise more. Doing a handful of projects really well will usually result in more money and better relationships (not to mention a less stressed you) than a lot of thrown together endeavors.In my experience, it is wise to say NO to the following things:

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How to Avoid a Host Committee Mutiny

It’s not that often that a muggle (a non-fundraiser) tells me about a really great fundraising encounter. It’s much more likely that I will hear about an organization that sends too much mail, a boring gala, annoying dinnertime solicitations, etc. The most recent gripe came from someone who was asked to serve on the host committee for a large fundraising event and ended up feeling a little resentful of the process. Given that I am currently working with a host committee of people I do not yet know very well, I was happy to have some insight into the volunteer’s experience.

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The Power of the Pen (or Pencil)

A handwritten note from one of your program participants can really amp up the impact of an acknowledgment letter.

A handwritten note from one of your program participants can significantly amp up the impact of an acknowledgment letter.

In my experience, most acknowledgment letters are pretty lame. It’s not that there is anything wrong with them, it’s that they are a wasted opportunity. The relationship between a donor and an organization has the potential to strengthen with every communication. Given that we  have limited opportunities to contact donors, before we get into the realm of annoying and/or creepy, it is important to make this one count.

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12 Events in 12 Months

My New Year’s traditions involve falling asleep by 11pm and eating obscene amounts of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s day. They do not include resolutions. But, this year, with a new job to kick off the new year, I have made a professional resolution.

I am desperately trying to get over a near-fatal case of fundraising event burnout. The events leading up to my diagnosis will fill many other posts. The important topic for today is how I intend to remedy the situation.

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