Unfortunately, problems among fundraising volunteers are common and can really dampen the spirits of everyone involved. Maybe you’ve seen it happen before: your group has started a new fundraising campaign and everyone is excited. Everything is going well, until, seemingly out of nowhere, volunteers start to argue, or even quit.
What happened? More often than not, a lack of communication is to blame. If you take an objective look at your fundraising effort and your volunteers, you’ll see that your group can move beyond the difficulties – and that there is still hope for a great and successful fundraising campaign!
Communicate – Communicate – Communicate!
Putting extra effort into thoroughly communicating your groups goals, anticipated problems, expectations of volunteers and more at the beginning and during a fundraising campaign will help a great deal in avoiding problems in the first place. Should problems arise,
• Talk to other committee members for a consensus of the issues
• Address the group as a whole, through a letter, a meeting, or both
• Be positive – a few kind motivational words can go a long way!
• Ask each volunteer for a commitment to a specific task
• Explain to everyone the importance of doing their share
• Regularly talk to individual volunteers to get updates. Maybe there is too high a workload, personality conflicts or poor organization. Ask how you can help.
• Follow up with phone calls
• Talk to individuals who are causing problems, and offer some solutions; if you really have to, thank the person politely and let him or her go.
• Prepare a plan B
In many cases, problems with volunteers can be diffused by building a sense of camaraderie. Try making meetings and work sessions more enjoyable by enjoying refreshments, setting aside a half an hour for coffee and talk, or going out together for dinner or drinks. If you are running a large group, consider whether a motivational speaker might be helpful.
Above all, bring a spirit of progress and cooperation to every dealing with fundraising volunteers, and refrain from negative thoughts and gossiping. Keep the focus on the goals of the group and the fundraiser. Remind everyone that you are working together for a larger cause; your good attitude in itself is sure to go a long way towards creating a productive, cohesive, successful fundraising group.