A successful nonprofit has many players, all performing different functions and at varying levels of commitment. Whether it’s a full-time staff member or a Board Member, every person involved with an nonprofit brings a certain passion and dedication to the cause at hand. And volunteers are no exception. In fact, volunteers may bring even more passion to your organization’s mission than full-time staff members… they are doing all their work for free, after all!

But it’s not just about the free work that volunteers provide. They’re also invaluable fundraisers and advocates if you give them the right tools and resources! Cultivating volunteers is part art, part science and while there are proven methods by which nonprofits inspire and even mentor volunteers, it takes insightful leadership to spot volunteers who are most excited about taking the next step. Given the right encouragement many volunteers will be ready and willing to engage their own community to raise money and awareness for you through a fundraising campaign of their own!

Volunteers to Fundraisers: A Natural Progression

Because they live and work in networks outside of your nonprofit, volunteers are a gold mine when it comes to expanding your brand and getting your story out into the world. Passionate about your mission, they may be willing to use their social ties to help you achieve your goals or increase peer-to-peer fundraising efforts. Depending on the enthusiasm and social community a volunteer has, the possibilities for their own nonprofit fundraising are endless. Here are just a few examples.

Volunteer-Driven Social Media Campaign: Most of your volunteers are already active on social media. Because Facebook and Twitter are already part of your marketing strategy, your volunteers’ friends will naturally see posts they publish about your nonprofit. (If Facebook and Twitter aren’t on your radar yet… GET ON IT!) Engage with your volunteers on social media and motivate them to spread awareness to their networks. Incentivize them with swag (t-shirts, water bottles, stickers, oh my!) and send them a shoutout on your blog and website to encourage even more involvement.

Volunteer-Led Event: One great way to turn volunteers into effective fundraising leaders, is to allow them to host their own events. Competitions and “thons” (like a walk-a-thon) are natural choices, because both can be organized quickly and without a lot of money or background experience. Encourage volunteers to come up with their own creative ideas, and facilitate the process so their idea will be sure to be a smash hit.

Volunteer Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Online fundraising doesn’t have to be solely your burden to bear! Set up a crowdfunding site and team pages to put the power in the hands of your dedicated volunteers. Peer-to-peer fundraising pages that are integrated with social media make it easy for your advocates to drum up support on your behalf. And when they automatically sync with your donor database, raising awareness (and online donations!) will be seamless!

By giving your volunteers a little more responsibility, the spark of dedication they have for your nonprofit can be fanned into a full flame. Don’t take on all of the responsibilities of online fundraising yourself – empower volunteers to become powerful advocates and supercharge your success!

Photo Credit: bothhands.org