Chapter 4 Volunteer Fundraising

“Until you ask, the answer is always ‘no’.”

—Nora Roberts


If you don’t realize that your volunteer strategy and your fundraising efforts are linked at the hip, you’re missing the boat. In fact, according to Fidelity’s Charitable Gift Fund Volunteerism and Charitable Giving Report,1 two-thirds of volunteers donate to their nonprofits, and people who volunteer donate ten times more money. Volunteers are also a great source of capacity and connections, and they can bolster and expand your existing development efforts, especially if put to use in the right way. They can also serve as passionate advocates for your cause, connecting you to cash and in-kind supporters, strategic partners, and expanding what your staff and organization can achieve.

But how can you tap this immense potential, and what are the best practices for gracefully inviting these key supporters to also open up their wallets and support your organization financially? To answer these key questions, I sat down with volunteer engagement expert Simon Tam, who managed 2,500 volunteers at the American Cancer Society.

In our conversation, Tam outlined eight crucial tips for engaging volunteers.

Critical Skills and Competencies

1. Dedicate Staff

Having a dedicated staff member who can manage your volunteers, provide guidance and training, answer questions, and serve as a main point of contact is critical. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a full-time position, but ...

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