Dollars Down, Do Gooders Up

The Washington Post says the national volunteer rate had the highest annual jump since 2003 in 2009. 2009? The Dark Year? The Beans and Rice Year? Donations fell, but folks still wanted to do something.

It's a drag that organizations weren't getting as many gifts, but I find this encouraging. These people are the real deal. They're looking for ways to stay connected to the nonprofits and organizations they care about and this makes them the best pool of potential donors you could ask for.

This is why welcome strategies and cultivation plans are so important. And what's heartbreaking is that in too many organizations, the little silo that coordinates volunteers doesn't talk to the little silo that handles development, planned giving or major gifts. Can we stop the madness?

Synchronize your efforts. Integrate your volunteers into your donor lists in ways that make sense, e.g., in ways that make them feel welcomed, important and a vital part of your organization (and not like an ATM machine as ye olde cliche lovingly declares ...).

Let them know about other ways to get involved. Share special programs with them or ask for their opinion on something. We've seen great results when a well thought out welcome strategy is put in place and an organization really follows through.

That same article projects that giving will experience a jump this year, too. Ending on a positive note and all ...