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Volunteers and volunteering

Volunteers play such an important role in the nonprofit world, and as I write this post about volunteers and volunteering, I’m taken back to my college days. I studied Spanish and Latin American Literature at the University of Colorado Denver, which meant I had a lot of reading. As a volunteer at one of our local animal shelters, the Max Fund, I typically spent my volunteer hours cleaning cages and walking dogs. As college progressed and I had more reading, I found myself volunteering in a different way, sitting in the FIV cat room reading my assignments while loving on all of the awesome cats. The photo above is of a FIV cat room, but the one at Indy Humane. I couldn’t find one from Max Fund.

I loved volunteering at the Max Fund, and always felt appreciated. I felt that way because I was thanked often.

These days I volunteer for other organizations in southern California and in Tijuana, and I receive the same amount of joy.

I got super excited during one volunteer time in Tijuana when one of the employees doing training for us actually made an ask for donations!

But, wait, you were volunteering and they asked you to donate?

YES! It made me so happy and of course that evening I went online and made a donation. Since then, about a year and a half, I have made four donations.

There are always discussions among fundraising staff and leadership about volunteers and whether or not it’s OK, or even appropriate, to ask them to donate. It is indeed. And in case you might be concerned of an ask to volunteers being off putting, I have asked hundreds of volunteers to donate and not once has someone been offended.

If you work hard on your relationships with your volunteers, not only will your volunteer force increase, you will see your donor base increase as well.

Thanks for reading!

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