5 ideas to get volunteers involved in fundraising

A group of new volunteers is starting this month and you would like to get them to help you increase the income of the organization. How to do that? They might not have any experience with the world of fundraising, and might have never heard of funding applications, donors’ reports or fundraising campaigns.

However, if you have selected them and they have chosen you, they are surely interested and passionate about the work you do!

This post gives you 5 ideas to capitalize on the volunteers’ passion and commitment in order to financially support your NGO. Remember that most volunteers strive to help and learn! With the right tools and guidance, they can make a huge difference to the work you do, and to your fundraising efforts.

1- Local events organization

This is for everyone working in or near any lively urban centre, where locals or tourists have enough spending power to participate in your events. If you work in an underprivileged context, just keep on reading: there is something for you just a few lines below!

A team of enthusiastic volunteers is the perfect crew to organize a successful local charity event. What kind of event? That depends on the skills of the volunteers and the local context. Just ask them to be creative! Are you targeting wealthy locals? Then a dinner in a fancy restaurant, along with a presentation or a raffle, might be one of your best shots! Would you like to get tourists and expats involved instead? Opt for a weekly get together: pub quiz, language exchange, workshops…

Don’t forget to make sure your volunteers understand two fundamental concepts: what the “ethos” of your organization is and how the local context works. And what’s in for your volunteers? The chance to improve their organization and management skills, to begin with. And a lot of fun!

2- A sales rep for local products

It takes all kinds to make a world! And every culture is beautiful and worth discovering. Wherever you work in the world, there will sure be handcrafts or products that people back home might be interested in buying. Or even better, your NGO might be involved with a social enterprise!

Volunteers are the best sales rep for the products of the region they discovered through their placement. They have an emotional bond to it, and they know it quite well. Let’s get to work then, and start planning how you can do this. They could carry a few  items back home and sell them within their social circle or local community. Profits will be donations that will go towards the work you do. Or you have anything else in mind?

Please check it is legal and safe for a volunteer to carry a certain amount/ number of items of the product back home!

3- Networking with local businesses

Are there any successful businesses in the area you work in? Any successful restaurant, bar, shop, tourist agency? You don’t need to be a huge organization to work out a win-win partnership with a local enterprise. So get your volunteers to work! Ask them to start networking with these local stakeholders, presenting the impact your work has on the local community and how much beneficial their help would be. A long-term partnership is what you are looking for: recurrent donations will make such a difference to your finances and to their public image.

And what if you work within an underprivileged context? Your volunteers can do this back home! Propose them to start networking with businesses that are somehow connected to what you do (but it can be anyone really). Ask them if they would be interested in sponsoring you by “dedicating” a dish, or a product, to your NGO.  And then, a small percentage of the item’s sale price will go towards your charity. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

4- Ambassadors

Good-will ambassadors are probably the best “marketing” tool for small organizations. And returning volunteers are definitely the best ambassadors you can find! Never let your volunteers go away and forget about you, after learning and experiencing so much with you.

Having ambassadors is key to finding new individual donors. It might also be a good way to get known within a university charity group, a school or another kind of community. Making a good impression on them might lead to the organization of a charity event for you, or a regular donation. You can never know what people can come up with, once they hear about the amazing work you do.

5- Get volunteers on a challenge!

Taking on a challenge for charity is rewarding and fun! In some countries, it is already common practice: you sign up to a marathon, a hike, or a competition and ask your friends and family to support your challenge by donating for a good cause. Admittedly,  in other countries it might be a bit weird, and your friends might first reply: “What? Paying in order to see you sweat for 42 km?”. But they will eventually get it!

Some of your volunteers might be really sporty, or adventurous, and they will happily do it!  Sign them up for a competition once they are back home (you pay this time!)  and help them run a campaign and set a up a crowdfunding page connected to your bank account. That’s it!

And by the way, they can put this  on the CV too! We promise it looks good.


International volunteers' management & Co., Resources in English

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