Give your volunteers the tools they need to succeed
There are two types of volunteers in the world: those who hate asking and those who love asking. I used to be a hater. I was always trying to avoid soliciting donations and auction items for my events. It just felt awkward asking people for things.
However, when I learned the proper mindset of Asking, my approach to seeking sponsorships and donations changed forever.
The asking problem usually stems from what we learned growing up. Many of us were told it’s not polite to ask for money. But of course in the world of nonprofits asking for donations is a major part of what we do. It is how we effect the heartfelt changes we aspire to make in the world.
Sometimes we forget that our volunteers aren’t trained fundraisers. We forget they lack the basic understanding of the science behind giving.
We expect volunteers to succeed without having the verbiage – the mindset – that helps us professionals succeed when Asking.
A few years ago a seasoned nonprofit fundraiser changed the way I looked at asking for money and items. “You are not asking people for money,” the nonprofit pro admonished me, “you are offering an opportunity to do something meaningful!” Wow – this was absolutely true!
All of us – staff and volunteers alike – are offering an opportunity for others to do something meaningful by making donations. That is powerful stuff for anyone ask-adverse!
Chances are you already knew about this mindset twist. You are a fundraising professional. But did you take the time to teach this concept to your volunteers?
If you are relying on a committee to procure sponsorships and auction items, you must shift them from an “ask phobic” to an “ask enthused” mind-set. Time and time again, I’ve seen this mental shift energize committees and create financially successful events. However, it’s entirely up to you as the organizer to teach and model this.
When I explain the difference between asking for money and offering an opportunity to my committees, they get excited. The idea of offering an opportunity to peers and relatives is very appealing. It makes the committee members feel empowered and enthused.
The phrase “change your words, change your life” comes to mind when I think of how this little verbal switcheroo affects volunteers. By giving your volunteer committees the proper mindset you are opening the door to amazing possibilities for both them and your organization.
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