The key is in the asking…


Does your organization have  committed volunteers? I mean…really committed. You can call  upon them day or night, rain or shine, and they show up. Ready to read a story at the library, stuff envelopes at church, or help out at the bake sale. They are engaged and active. We love these people!!

Yet, these amazingly wonderful volunteers do not always donate funds to your organization.

Say what?!

Most volunteers will tell you that they did not donate for one simple reason. No. One. Asked.

Let’s dissect the motivation behind volunteering and donating money to a charity (we will not literally dissect a volunteer, that’s a blog for another day).

Why do people Volunteer?

Basic Level: Self serving drive; it meets his or her needs.  Resume builder, Community Service hours, to get business connections, being new to the area and wanting to meet people, wanting a job and needing  experience, or needing to donate professional services.

Relational Drive: Volunteering because of a friend. It’s hard to say no to a friend if a friend asks you to do something.  Relationships are one of the most effective marketing tools. When you ask someone to fund-raise for your organization,  you should also ask them to “friend-raise”  connect your organization with friends or family members who would have an interest in volunteering as well.

Belief: Strongest level of commitment.  They are passionate about a cause and want to make a difference.  People are most highly motivated and most likely to make the greatest contributions when they believe strongly in an organization’s mission.

People often join an organization due to self serving interests or relational reasons and become true believers in the organization. It is crucial to nurture volunteers and develop your relationship with them. Having a clear path to move a volunteer from Basic to Belief is critical for the long term health of your volunteer programs. SO! Now, let’s look at the flip side of this coin.

Why do people donate?

In the November issue of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal, co-founder Kim Klein explores the “Top 3 Reasons People Give.” From least to most important, they are:

No.3: The cause itself.

No. 2: The time was right.

No. 1: The person was asked.

All research shows that when people are asked to remember the last donation they made and why they made it, 85 percent of them will say, “Because someone asked me.” Only 50 percent of that group can remember the name of the organization they gave to, although 90 percent of them can remember something about the person who asked them, even if that person was a total stranger.

There have been many reports and studies about the motivations of donors in recent years.

Who better to ask for a contribution than individuals already involved? They already understand the mission and have bought in to the cause.  They should be able to witness first hand that the organization is good stewards of resources (money), and by volunteering it gives them a hands on experience to see what resources are needed.

As a kid I was never asked to be a girl scout. I have to admit, it bothered me. Why was I not asked to volunteer, sell cookies, wear the uniform? I thought I would have made a KILLER girl scout, and I had dreams of selling thousands of boxes of cookies. I let my cookie dreams pass me by, but just think of how many people WANT to help your organization but have never been asked.  And just think where  their  philanthropic dollars could be going if only asked by you.

My girl scout story had a happy ending.  As an adult I worked for the girl scout organization and both my daughters  were active girl scouts when they were younger – so my dream of selling cookies finally came true!!  Its a wonderful organization that I greatly admire. Check them out and see how you can help!

Take away: A well trained, educated volunteer who has has had a quality volunteer experience is uniquely aligned to embrace your mission on every level– via their  head, hands and heart. There is no better advocate  to help you move your mission forward and no better prospective donor.

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