It's true that your volunteers give so much of themselves that you hate to ask them for another thing. But what might not be obvious is that they might love to get more involved and fundraise for your events. Though they may not be running or walking, they can certainly fundraise for the event they're helping with. Here are some ways you can improve volunteer involvement and encourage them to fundraise:
The world of fundraising is pivoting. What’s happening is that we’re moving to the next horizon, which is self-directed fundraising. Where we’re headed is fundraising that’s directed by your donors, not directed by your organization. Organizations that think that the way they’ve raised money through their long-established signature events will continue—are mistaken. Many walks and runs are now 30-year-old products that haven’t been innovated for the times. There’s fatigue, since many of those participating in these events are less likely to continue as they get older and the events are dated ideas that are just not appealing or relevant to younger people. I’m not saying that tomorrow we’ll shut off the signature-event faucet. But what we’ve seen is a continuous decline in the revenues they’re raising and the efforts to revive many of these events just haven’t worked.
2015 will be a watershed year for nonprofits. Many organizations are facing multiple problems: a drop off in revenue from their traditional fundraising, inability to attract new supporters, and competition for their fundraising dollars from organizations that seem to come out of nowhere, to name a few.
To help you make these critical decisions, check out our first yearly report The State of Peer-To-Peer Fundraising 2015. Topics include:
Two years ago we examined the percentage of dollars donated through social media in DonorDrive. Back then 13.27% of all dollars our clients raised came directly through social media. (These are donations that came from a donor clicking a link in a friend's update or tweet, arriving at their fundraising page and making an online donation.) Despite the fact that social channels show fewer and fewer updates by your friends and followers, fundraising through social channels has grown to 17.46% of overall donations. That's an increase of 32%. Here's a look at how that social donation pie is divided up:
You have to have a different approach to fundraising with Millennials. They‘re willing to go to an event a month. Older volunteers may want to do one big event a year. Young professionals usually prefer to do a higher volume of more intimate events. You’ve got to allow them to be creative. Millennials may want to do some events you’ve never done in your organization before. You may not think an event will work, but if they think it’ll work, you’ve got to give them the leeway to do it, even if it might fail.
For a young professional group to thrive there must be structure, but not something with the overbearing rules that your traditional structure may have. You’ll still want to have a hierarchy with officers. That’s one thing that will actually attract some of your leaders. They're building their resume. They’re still looking for leadership opportunities. From your point of view, you need a structure for who’s going to run your meetings. You have to start your group with an existing board member or volunteer. But what you don’t want to do is have that older volunteer running the group. You want them to get it started and then back away and be there for advice when needed.
If your organization has been trying to get Millennials involved through conventional methods, well—there’s the problem. While young professionals want to help your organization, they typically don’t want to be part of the traditional structure. Whether you call this your Young Professionals Group or come up with a more creative name (better yet, let them think it up) it's important that they have an organizational structure they can call their own. You need to make them feel empowered. We’re tempted to micromanage them, but don't. That’s the quickest way to destroy your group.
If you don’t have a young professionals group at your organization or you've had one that failed in the past, it’s important that you get one going. Today’s Millennial generation are a wealth of resources that your organization needs to be tapped into. Differing from almost every other generation, Millennials have a strong desire to find meaning in their lives and do not always seek it in their employment. For your organization that translates into commitment, time and money that they can devote to your cause.
Each year DonorDrive awards a scholarship that sends a staffer from a deserving nonprofit to the Peer to peer Professional Forum conference. Our scholarship for the 2015 conference goes to Brecka Putnam of CureSearch for Children's Cancer. In an interview that DonorDrive conducted along with Peter Panepento of Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum's Peer Review Blog, Brecka was excited to get the news: "I am so looking forward to attending." Brecka manages the CureSearch Ultimate Hike program, a single-day, 20-30 mile hike that raises funds and awareness for children's cancer: "We have four Ultimate Hikes a year and our participants raise an average of $3100 each."
As we head into 2015 we'd like to make sure you have the best information possible for planning your organization's future fundraising. Over the last year we've written some very popular and useful content. We thought we'd recap what's most relevant to your fundraising in 2015.