Unintended Volunteers

April 13, 2018

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Written By: Peggy

By Peggy Vinson


April is National Volunteer Month. Over the next few weeks the Donor By Design Team will be reflecting on the impact volunteers have on our communities and our world. Today Peggy tells a story of how one gentleman became an “unintended volunteer.”


Have you ever had this happen? You recruit a volunteer to help with a campaign. When you asked “Would you volunteer to help us raise money?” they said yes… but then they never did anything.

There are a lot of reasons that may be the the case (lack of training or follow up, for example), but I think there’s a much more simple reason: asking for money can be scary.

I met a staff leader once who had an interesting approach that reduced the intimidation level. He asked an older gentleman to help him with his campaign. This man was kind of a “ring leader” of a group that he wanted to solicit for funds.

He asked the gentleman to help out and he said no. Undeterred, he then asked him to make a contribution and he said yes.

As a thank you for his contribution he gave him a t-shirt which said “Join Me.” Then he asked the gentleman to do him a favor. “Would you just wear this shirt for the next two weeks when you are with your group?”

“Sure,”  he said.  The others in his group began asking where he got the shirt and he simply said it was a thank you for making a donation to the organization that they were all involved with.  Within a week, the entire group had made a donation. A little less intimidating and a lot more successful. Do you think this gentleman was an “unintended volunteer”?

Sometimes we need to consider whom we’re asking and try to involve them in less unintimidating ways. That way everyone wins!

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