team workHave you ever thought that your volunteers and supporters would help you raise money or awareness only to find when the moment arrives they all but disappear?

Then, you sit there and wonder what happened.

I’ve been in sales a long time. One of the reasons why that happens is that people don’t want to say “no” to you. They don’t want you to think of them as the bad guy or gal. So they would rather defer the decision by saying they’ll get back to you or agree but then excuses in their lives appear that help them rationalize not having the time to help you.

There are some things you can do to get people firmly on board:

  • From the first conversation you have with your volunteers, emphasize how important it is for them to help your fundraising or awareness efforts. And, don’t just tell them it’s important, but also explain why. They have to know that without their help and support, you won’t be as successful as you can be. 
  • Bear in mind that if you’re asking people to raise money, that is something most people do not like to do or feel comfortable doing. That means you have to give them the tools for success. Provide them with a script if it helps. Don’t assume that people can explain to others in their circle why they should join and support your cause. Give your champions the tools they need to be able to convey to others they know what it means to support your organization.
  • Make it a point to remind your volunteers that they’re not asking for themselves, but for the cause. I think we inherently don’t like to ask others for help or to trouble people. So, you have to assist your supporters in understanding that they’re not asking for themselves, but for all of the individuals or things served by your cause.
  • Don’t skimp on your marketing; your donors want to support your organization, but they also want to know that you’re actively working to get the word out. It helps your volunteers when they can easily point to an advertisement you did, an email or social media posts that help convey what you’re looking to achieve.
  • Marketing should be cross-channel. That means that you should not focus on only one type of marketing or promotion strategy. Your donors are not monolithic, and you can’t find all of them in one place. Also, the sphere of influence of your champions is broad and varied. Your best bet is to aggressively promote in multiple ways such as direct mail (it still works), social media, or emails.
  • When you’re promoting, don’t only ask for money before people know anything about you. Before you ask for something, you have to educate and inform people. Few are going to give to your campaign or fundraiser if they have no idea who you are or the good work that you do. They might give once as a favor to their friend and your volunteer (again, people don’t want to appear to be the bad guy), but you likely won’t get new donors to give to you again. So, provide your volunteers in advance simple one-sheets or facts about your organization so they can inform their sphere of influence. 
  • Remember your key message is your story. The primary driver in giving to charity is emotion. People then use reason to justify what they feel they want to do, which is hopefully to give to your organization. Your volunteers will be helped, and you’ll have more success if you give your champions stories that move them and in turn make it easier for them to convey the work you do.

People are inherently good, and I think––most of the time––when people say they’re going to help you and volunteer, their heart is in the right place. It’s up to you to give them the resources they need to help you. Help your volunteers help you.



Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Be Bold, Dominate and Succeed in Marketing For Today’s Digital World On A Limited Budget” (Free Digital Download)

© 2017 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.