Why Volunteers Make Amazing Donors

Guest Post by Corbit Harrison from VolunteerHub

Your volunteers are already some of your most committed supporters. You know that this is true, because they are contributing a highly valuable asset: their time. In fact, recent studies show that each volunteer’s time is worth over $23 per hour.

Why not ask them to also give financially?

Here are three reasons why you should make the ask:

#1 – Volunteers Already Understand the Good You Do

Storytelling is one of the most challenging aspects of donor cultivation. If the pitch isn’t exactly perfect, you risk failing to connect – which translates into subpar capital campaigns. This is especially true when engaging prospective donors who are new to your cause. In today’s media-overloaded world, your message could easily be drowned out by competing emails, social posts, and direct mail.

Compare these challenges to the ease of reaching (and engaging) volunteers. While some of your volunteers may have never made a monetary gift to your organization, they certainly already understand your mission and the cause you serve. By reaching out to volunteers you can bypass much of the storytelling and advertising expense, which is traditionally required. This allows you to instead speak to your organization’s needs – and how the volunteer can help by giving in an incremental way.

#2 – Volunteers Have Sweat Equity

Ben Franklin stated in his autobiography, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” Often referred to as the “Ben Franklin effect,” the psychological phenomenon asserts that those who have done favors for you are very likely to do another favor.

Volunteers offer the perfect opportunity to put this theory to the test. Your volunteers have already performed the ultimate favor for your cause – donating their hard work to your cause. When asked to contribute financially, these supporters are likely to recall the investment they’ve already made to your organization. Making a financial contribution, for many, will be a natural extension of their good deeds and sweat equity.

#3 – Volunteers Want to See Your People Succeed

Some donors choose to support your mission at an arm’s length, never stopping by to see your frontline operations. While you are certainly grateful for their contributions, it can be difficult to keep these constituents engaged for the long haul. A well-crafted communications and marketing plan is vital to avoiding churn within this segment of your portfolio.

Volunteers, on the other hand, have interacted directly with your staff, other supporters, and the people that your organization serves. Those experiences are permanently sketched into the minds of your volunteers, shaping their perspectives of how your organization serves the common good. By building a sense of community, volunteers can also encounter a deep connectivity to the individuals they serve alongside.

Volunteers are Amazing People…& Can Be Amazing Donors, Too!

Each day, your operation already depends on volunteers to achieve its mission. Don’t be shy to ask them to also help in a new way – by contributing their hard earned dollars. You might find that many are simply waiting for you to ask.

Corbit Harrison is the Chief Operating Officer for VolunteerHub and has been actively helping nonprofit organizations better engage constituents for over 10 years. Connect with Corbit on Linkedin.


Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service