For larger fundraising projects you should put together a team to help you otherwise you will be stretched far too thin and stand a good chance of failing. The ideal team from a cost perspective is volunteer-based but you might have to occasionally hire someone especially if it’s for a specialized task that most people can’t do.
Many people dread being asked to volunteer and do so begrudgingly but you will be surprised at how many people you ask will be more than happy to “roll up their sleeves” and pitch in for no other reason than to help out a good cause.
The best people to approach in building your fundraising team should be individuals or groups that are sympathetic to your cause. Example: Parents with players on the football team have a vested interest in helping the team get new uniforms.
Others are just naturally giving in their time and are usually involved in several projects at once. If you can land one of these types of go-getters on your team they often have the drive and ambition of several volunteers.
To find volunteers just use common sense. Try the people that are tied to the cause first and build from there. You might consider placing ads in your local grocery stores if they have free Community Bulletin Boards in the entrance and exits. Another idea is to approach your local paper and see if they will donate a small ad for you to use to find help.
Talk to your prospective volunteers and tell them exactly what you are trying to accomplish and what you would expect from them in terms of time and effort. It’s a good idea to have some type of fundraising plan drawn up that you can show them as this not only shows that you are organized and serious but they will also be better able to see how the time and skill requirements fits into their schedules and abilities.
Training should be done by you or someone that knows the exact role the volunteer will be performing and you want to be sure to thoroughly go over any tasks and duties they will be performing so there are no misunderstandings later on. Be careful to not talk down to them or lecture them. Remember, they are giving you one of their most precious resources, their time, so respect that and them as a person and you will go far.
It is important to match the task with the person when making job assignments. You probably wouldn’t want someone who is an expert in selling to stuff envelopes when they would be more valuable and happy working the phones trying to solicit donors.
If you are working from an office environment be sure and make it as pleasant and comfortable a place as you can. Easy access to snacks and drinks (maybe provided free by a generous donor?) should be available and any other creature comforts you can add will be most welcome.
If it’s a long project you might want to consider some type of event for reaching a milestone. This would of course depend on your budget but it could be something as simple as bringing in pizza to celebrate.
Always keep an eye out for overwork and stress. People that have volunteered want to help you so respect them and if it looks like they are being overwhelmed it’s time to bring in some more help. The key idea is to keep them happy and wanting to continue to help rather than feeling like they are stuck because they are too polite to quit.
Be sure and give praise and say thanks often to each and everyone of your volunteers. Let them know how appreciative you are of their help.
Keep an eye out for any personality conflicts and work swiftly to resolve them. This might be something solved easily like relocating someone to another part of the office or it might mean asking the person to leave. Don’t be afraid to do this if you have to because you ultimately are responsible for the group as a whole and the success of the project falls on your shoulders. Be a leader!
Follow these simple steps, communicate frequently, respect and thank your team often and you will find that your fundraiser will be a great success!