Your organization’s most dedicated supporters have an important role in continuing the good work your nonprofit does. Their regular donations fund your efforts, while the support they express for your cause spreads the word among wider networks of potential donors in person and online via social media.
You can strengthen your relationships with frequent supporters by transforming them into volunteers for your organization. After all, their donations demonstrate their commitment to your mission, so it’s likely they will love the opportunity to give back in another way.
To encourage your donors to become volunteers, focus on showing them how essential their contributions have been to your organization thus far. We’ll teach you some effective ways to simultaneously reward consistent supporters and deepen their engagement with your organization:
- Involve your donors in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
- Use prospect research to better understand your donors.
- Build brand recognition with a customized donation form.
- Offer branded merchandise to your top supporters.
- Interact with your supporters online and in person.
Remember, dedicated volunteers facilitate your organization’s work and are likely to continue or increase their donations after you invite them to become more involved in your cause. Attracting the support of new volunteers is always worth the effort, especially if they’ve already proven their interest by making a donation.
Let’s begin with one of the most reliable ways to transform donors into volunteers: a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
1. Involve your donors in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Whether your organization is planning to host a community event or you simply want to make your next big fundraising push more exciting for everyone involved, a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is a wonderful way to engage your donors.
In a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, your donors become volunteer fundraisers for your organization.
Here’s how it works: your organization selects fundraising software that allows your volunteer fundraisers to create peer-to-peer fundraising pages that they can personalize with their reasons for supporting your organization. They can then share these pages with their networks of friends and followers via social media.
Ready to start planning your organization’s next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign? Follow these tips to ensure success and encourage more of your donors to get involved in new ways:
- Choose the right volunteer fundraisers. Your organization is looking for volunteer fundraisers who have demonstrated their dedication to your cause and are likely to enjoy drawing attention to your campaign. Donors who give regularly or have given large gifts are great to ask, as are individuals who have volunteered or otherwise worked with your organization.
- Take advantage of your peer-to-peer fundraising software’s gamification tools. Make your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign exciting using gamification tools like fundraising thermometers. Encouraging competition among your volunteer fundraisers will motivate them to raise more in donations and become more involved in your campaign.
- Connect your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to your organization’s social media strategy. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are designed with the sharing capabilities of social media in mind, and your organization can utilize these capabilities as well as your volunteer fundraisers! Post updates on the leading volunteer fundraisers to increase everyone’s efforts, and remind your followers of the days until the campaign ends so that they get their donations in on time!
A successful peer-to-peer campaign will not only raise significant amounts in donations for your organization but also make your volunteer fundraisers feel more connected with your organization. Deepening these relationships encourages them to engage with you in more ways than simply sending in their gifts.
Want to ensure that you’re reaching out to the best potential volunteer fundraisers or volunteers for your organization’s work? Learn more about your donors and communicate with them more effectively by conducting prospect research.
2. Use prospect research to better understand your donors.
Donor research or prospect research is the process of gathering information on current donors and individuals who are likely to contribute to your organization in the future. While prospect research is most commonly used to identify donors for your organization, you can adapt prospect research strategies to your search for volunteers.
This way, you’ll be able to identify and focus your efforts on the donors who are most likely to get involved in additional ways.
Donor research data is divided into two categories: wealth markers and philanthropic indicators. Wealth markers, such as real estate ownership, stock holdings, business affiliations, and political giving history, are useful in determining who among your organization’s current and potential donors are capable of making a major or otherwise significant gift.
When your organization is searching for the potential volunteers among your donors, you’ll want to focus more on philanthropic indicators.
Philanthropic indicators measure your donors’ past involvement with nonprofits including your own, from the frequency and size of the gifts they have given to their history of volunteering and expressing support for causes like yours on social media.
You’re looking for volunteers with demonstrated records of not only donating to your organization, but also making additional donations or contributing their time to organizations whose missions are similar to yours. Significant volunteering histories and expressions of public support for causes like yours are both types of valuable information that you can find using prospect research.
It’s likely that donors who are strong candidates for volunteering have expressed interest in your organization on social media or are already following your accounts. Prospect research is an important component of a strong social media strategy, as it can help you reach these key supporters on their favorite platforms.
Once you have connected with your supporters online, whether by involving them in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign or interacting with them via social media, encourage them to give online and motivate others to do so as well with an online donation form that builds brand recognition.
3. Build brand recognition with a customized donation form.
Donors of all ages increasingly favor making their gifts online, as it’s quick, easy, and can be completed anywhere and at any time. To encourage more of your online donors to contribute their time to your organization, you’ll need to develop a recognizable online brand that supporters associate with a good cause and quality work.
Your online presence does more than introduce audiences to your nonprofit and facilitate the giving process. It’s also an at-a-glance representation of your organization and what you stand for. You can encourage online donors to become more involved in your organization by showcasing your nonprofit’s brand on your site, especially in your online giving forms.
As you create or refresh yours, ensure that you:
- Incorporate your organization’s familiar color scheme, logo, and other branding elements. Not only will donors be more comfortable making their contributions if your website and donation page feature these familiar elements, but they’ll also associate your visual brand with the good work you do. This can motivate some donors to increase their support or contribute their time as well as their gifts to your organization.
- Share your organization’s central message. Storytelling is essential to attracting both donors and volunteers, who want to see that your organization is dedicated to making progress toward its goals. While your site should be uncluttered to make giving easy, a well-placed image or phrase can foster deeper engagement without slowing down the donation process.
- Extend your website’s design and message to your donation form. It’s likely that your supporters are coming to your website to make gifts, so ensure that your donation form is designed to remind them of the good work you do. Customizable donation forms, like these from Donately, reflect your organization’s brand to strengthen connections between your donors and your organization.
- Connect your online donation form to your social media accounts. Your organization is likely to find some of your most dedicated supporters on social media. Ensure that your donation form is no more than a click away from any of your profiles, and remind your followers to donate with the occasional post linking to your donation form. Individuals who visit your website to donate are likely to be interested in other ways they can get involved with your organization.
Social media sites are great places to identify supporters whose commitment to your cause extends beyond making the occasional gift. Reward your most active online supporters or encourage them to participate in community events by offering them branded merchandise that creates publicity for your organization whenever they wear or use it.
4. Offer branded merchandise to your top supporters.
Whether your organization is hosting a community event or encouraging increased online interaction, offering branded merchandise as an incentive or reward for participation can motivate your supporters. It’s also a great way to spread the word about your organization, as passers-by may ask your supporters about the merchandise they are wearing or using.
Choose products that are fun and practical gifts for your supporters to receive as well as conversation starters regarding your organization and the good work you do. You can distribute them in-person at events or mail them to reward supporters who use your online donation tools.
While you can use branded merchandise to attract and reward new donors for their initial commitments to your organization, these products are also a wonderful way to recognize supporters who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to your organization.
Offer branded merchandise to the volunteers who contribute their time to making your next community event a success, take the lead in your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, or are especially active in sharing information regarding your organization’s work on social media. These dedicated supporters will feel rewarded, encouraging them to continue their good work!
With the right incentives, your organization will have no trouble identifying who among your longtime or otherwise particularly dedicated donors are ready to make the next step and become volunteers. Whether you engage with them online or in person, ensure that your organization gets to know these committed supporters on an individual basis.
5. Interact with your supporters online and in person.
Just as donors prefer to give to organizations that personalize their communications, volunteers prefer to work with those that value them as individuals. As your organization seeks volunteers from among your current donors, you’re sure to benefit from getting to know them better.
Prospect research is one method by which you can learn more about your donors, including such important factors as their giving and volunteering histories. Your organization can also create donor survey questions like these from Bloomerang and ask your supporters about their reasons for giving to your organization. Try asking them about:
- Their interest in your cause. Supporters who are eager to tell you why they’re dedicated to your mission are likely to be interested in volunteering.
- Their feelings about your organization. If their feelings about your organization are positive, they’re worth reaching out to when volunteer opportunities arise!
- Their activities outside your organization. Donors with a history of engagement with other nonprofits, especially as volunteers, understand the importance of these activities and would likely be happy to volunteer for your organization as well.
Social media platforms are great for interacting with your organization’s supporters as individuals. Community events provide you with the opportunity to meet them in person, allowing you to speak to them directly about their involvement with your organization and any interest they may have in extending their engagement to include volunteering.
Whether your organization is searching for new donors or looking to transform current supporters into volunteers, personalized interaction is sure to increase their opinion of your organization and teach you about their interests and values. Both online and in-person opportunities are highly valuable and worth seeking out.
Your organization’s most dedicated supporters are strong candidates to become volunteers, and many will value the opportunity to contribute even more to your organization.
By learning as much as you can about your supporters and approaching them in the right way, you can find committed volunteers who will help your organization work toward its goals.
Guest Author: Andrew Berry is the head of marketing and customer success for Donately. After getting involved with nonprofits at a young age, he discovered a passion for helping the organizations that are making the world a better place. Knowing how vital online fundraising has become, his goal is to help nonprofits raise more money online each year! In his spare time, you will find him cooking up dinner, playing with his dog or cheering on Boston sports teams.