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  • Empowering Event Volunteers: 4 Tips for Fundraising Success

Whether you’re a nonprofit or an association, you know that fundraising events can play a huge part in sustaining your organization. Making every fundraiser successful means getting help from tons of people with different skills and responsibilities.

From planning events to hosting them and every step in between, volunteers can become a valuable extension of your fundraising event team. As passionate advocates for your organization, volunteers are ready to help you make an impact.

Since volunteers are generously donating their abilities and time to your mission and event, you’ll need to equip them for success. We’re here to show you four tips for recruiting and empowering event volunteers that’ll create positive experiences for everyone involved while helping your fundraiser succeed.

1. Map out your event details and team needs

Get your fundraising planning off to the right start by outlining the type of event you’ll hold and what skills are needed to organize and run it.

Determine the type of fundraising event to organize

To figure out what type of fundraising event to have, consider what your goals are. For example, do you want to get new donors or reconnect with lapsed supporters? From there, decide what kind of event can help you reach that goal.

There are plenty of fundraising events to choose from. Below are some of the most popular:

  • Walkathon: This classic fundraising event focused on walking is easy to plan and great for engaging with your local community.
  • Auction: By gathering high-worth items from your community or sponsors, you can auction them to event attendees.
  • Concert: Benefit concerts of all sizes featuring local talent can bolster your fundraising efforts.
  • Sporting event: Many sports teams partner with organizations to help with fundraising.
  • Competition: Holding a competition like painting, singing, or photography can be a great way to engage attendees.
  • Art exhibit: Charity art shows let members of your organization and community display their artistic talents while supporting a great cause.
  • Gala: Fundraising galas are large-scale events that typically provide attendees with a meal, entertainment, and goodie bags with sponsored merchandise.

Consider your resources and target audience to determine which type of fundraising event will be most effective for your organization to plan.

Decide what skills are needed from volunteers

With the type of fundraising event you want to hold in mind, next up is establishing what skills you need volunteers to have. Consider what abilities your team is missing in order to make the event a success. For instance, if you’re holding a concert, having someone who knows how to handle audio equipment is essential.

Draft volunteer job descriptions accordingly

By figuring out what skills your event requires, you can attract volunteers who’ll be eager to put their abilities to use. Be sure to clearly draft volunteer job roles because they’ll detail your expectations for volunteers.

When writing volunteer job descriptions make sure that you include the:

  • Job title: The right job title lets you accurately describe the role the volunteer will fill and give them a sense of pride in their duty.
  • Responsibilities: Be thorough about the duties you want volunteers to handle so you can give them an idea of what their day-to-day work will look like.
  • Qualifications and skills: Detail the exact qualifications, like age, as well as skills you need from volunteers, such as software experience.
  • Your mission: Describe your organization’s mission, the communities that you serve, and how you’re making a difference.
  • Time frame: Outline how long you need volunteers to help you out, like for a one-time event or regular assistance, and how many hours they will need to volunteer for.
  • Location: Share where the volunteers will be helping you such as your headquarters or rented event location.
  • Training: Give an overview of the training volunteers will receive, when training will be held, how long training will be, and what skills they will learn.
  • Social proof: Get testimonials from previous volunteers that share their positive volunteer experience and how it helped them grow.
  • How to apply: Include everything applicants need for the recruitment process, such as their resume, and provide an application link.

After drafting the volunteer job description, read it as if you were someone who knows very little about your organization and consider if any must-have information is missing.

2. Motivate your fundraising event volunteers

There are tons of reasons why people choose to volunteer for organizations. Common motivations that inspire people to volunteer include:

  • Supporting a shared purpose: Many people volunteer because they want to support a cause that they care about, meet like-minded people, and give back to their community. Share exactly how your volunteers can uplift others by volunteering for your organization.
  • Developing specific skills: Your volunteer opportunity can become a learning experience. Through training, volunteers can learn skills like event management and software to support your organization and add to their toolbox.
  • Gaining work experience: For younger people especially, volunteering is a great way to gain work experience, become introduced to a new field, and start networking.
  • Receiving incentives: Thank your volunteers for their hard work with incentives they’ll value like gift cards, free branded merchandise, raffle tickets, and refreshments.

By leaning into these motivations, you can keep your volunteers engaged leading up to the fundraising event.

3. Prepare your volunteers before the event

To make your event a success, you’ll need to prepare your volunteers before the big day. Follow these best volunteer prepping practices:

  • Have an effective onboarding process: Ensure that volunteers receive in-depth knowledge of your organization’s goals, values, and overall purpose.
  • Shared detailed event information: Include relevant information about the event schedule and plan, including any dress code or arrival time requirements.
  • Train your volunteers: Your event likely requires volunteers with specific skills so make sure that every volunteer feels confident with their duties through proper training.
  • Use effective fundraising software: Leverage software with volunteer management features that allow volunteers to easily check in and send direct communications with the team.
  • Organize additional volunteers: Having extra volunteers on hand lets you fill any gaps from no-shows or take on ad hoc tasks during the fundraising event.
  • Be communicative: By regularly communicating with volunteers, you can keep them in the loop, alleviate any pre-event jitters, and welcome feedback from them.

By ensuring that your fundraising event volunteers have everything they need to fulfill their roles, you’ll set them up for a smooth and successful volunteer experience with your nonprofit.

4. Reconvene after the event

After your fundraising event, take a moment to celebrate a job well done! But know that your work isn’t done just yet.

Chances are, you’ll be organizing another event in the future. Now’s the time to debrief with your team about the event and see where you can improve.

Thank your fundraising volunteers

Just like you follow up with attendees and thank them for coming to the event, be sure to recognize your volunteers for all their hard work. Thanking your volunteers creates a positive experience for them and encourages them to help your organization in the future.

Treat your volunteers like they’re major donors. After all, they freely gave your organization their time and skills.

Tell volunteers that your fundraising event and all the good that it sparked wouldn’t have been possible without their support. You can also show your appreciation by giving volunteers a handwritten note, a thank-you video created by your team, and perks like gift cards.

Send feedback surveys

After their training and time at the fundraising event, volunteers will have suggestions for you. Send volunteers surveys to learn how you can improve your volunteer management process and get even better results at your next fundraising event.

Also, by sending these feedback surveys and listening to what volunteers have to say, you’ll make them feel heard. When volunteers know that you value their input, they’ll be more likely to stay involved with your organization.

Share volunteer stories

Stories from your volunteers are powerful resources that can inspire existing volunteers to stay involved and new ones to join the team. Ask volunteers to share their reason for getting involved and their experience with your organization.

These testimonials can be included in future volunteer applications as well as your website, social media, newsletter, and marketing materials. Make these stories even stronger by including the impact volunteers made for your organization like achieving fundraising milestones.

Equip your fundraising event volunteers for greatness

There’s no doubt that volunteers have so much to offer. With the right support, they can set your fundraising events up for success. It’s up to you to provide volunteers with the training they need to leverage their skills and make them feel valued for donating their time.

From organizing and hosting an event to spreading the word about your organization, volunteers are a powerful extension of your team. By keeping our four tips in mind, you’re well on your way to making the most out of your fundraising events with the help of all-star volunteers.

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