Training new nonprofit volunteers to help prepare them to work at fundraisers is a vital step after the recruiting and onboarding stages are complete. This training is essential because this event is usually a nonprofit’s main funding source. This blog, part 3 in a series, provides steps to help these new team members thrive at this significant event. Part 1 of this blog focuses on how to successfully recruit volunteers. Part 2 outlines tips to have a seamless onboarding process for the volunteers.
Understanding the Importance of Fundraising Events
Make sure your volunteers understand the significance of these events. Fundraising is about more than just collecting donations. It’s about building relationships, creating awareness, and fostering a community around your cause. Educate your volunteers on how these events directly impact your organization’s ability to make a difference.
Setting Clear Objectives and Expectations
Another step in training nonprofit volunteers is to ensure they know what is expected of them. Be specific about the goals of each event. Inform them if the goal is to reach a specific monetary target, increase awareness, or expand your supporter network. This clarity helps volunteers focus their efforts and understand their role in achieving these objectives.
Different roles for fundraising events require distinct skills and knowledge. Break down the training according to these roles:
Event Planners and Coordinators
These volunteers need to understand event logistics, from planning stages to execution. Cover venue selection, vendor management, scheduling, and contingency planning.
Those interacting directly with donors should be trained in communication skills, storytelling, and basic donor psychology. They should be able to effectively convey your organization’s cause and handle questions that may arise.
Share training videos a few days before the event. Ask volunteers to arrive an hour prior to check-in time to be trained on site.
Add volunteer names to your guest list in the software so they can practice checking in each other to get comfortable with the software.
Below are the volunteers you will need to handle the fundraising aspects of your event.
Volunteer Job Descriptions
Requirements For All Volunteers
- All volunteers should be comfortable using a computer or iPad.
- They should not drink alcohol until after their shift is complete.
These volunteers will look up guests on iPad or laptop, verify information, add missing information, assign bidder numbers, and send bidding links to guests. They need to be comfortable with using a computer or iPad. They should also be detailed-oriented with a friendly personality. Your volunteers who are accountants, bank tellers, and airline gate clerks would be great at this job.
Bidding Assistant Volunteers
These volunteers will roam the silent auction area to assist bidders with mobile bidding and answer questions. These volunteers should be outgoing. They should also be able to easily approach your guests and be comfortable with technology. Your volunteers who are salespeople, teachers, or customer service reps would be great at this job.
Fixed Prices Sales Volunteers
These types of sales include raffles, wine pulls, jewelry pulls, merchandise, and sign-up parties. Volunteers will assist bidders with purchasing fixed price items either on the bidder’s phone or on an iPad.Your volunteers who are salespeople would be great at this job.
Live Auction Volunteers
Volunteers will write the winning bid numbers and winning bids as the auctioneer sells each live item. They will reconcile all sheets and turn them in to the person overseeing data entry.Your volunteers who are accountants and people who are detailed-oriented and not easily distracted would be great at this job.
These volunteers will look up guests on iPad or laptop, verify purchases with guests, fill out pick-up slips, send e-mail receipts, and submit payments for processing. Using your check-in volunteers for checkout is ideal. If you must have a different set of volunteers, they need to be comfortable with a computer or iPad. They must also be detailed-oriented and have a friendly personality. Your volunteers who are accountants, bank tellers, or airline gate clerks would be great at this job.
Item Distribution/Runner Volunteers
These volunteers will collect items for winners after they have checked out. They should wear comfortable shoes. Additionally, they should be detailed focused and friendly.
Promotions and Marketing
Volunteers in charge of promotions should be trained in social media marketing, creating engaging content, and understanding the analytics behind successful campaigns.
Practical Skills Development
There are also general skills every volunteer should be equipped with, including the following:
Effective communication is key in fundraising. Train volunteers on how to engage with attendees, share stories that resonate with your cause, and communicate effectively in person and digitally.
Equip volunteers with the ability to handle unforeseen challenges that may arise during events, like dealing with difficult situations or making quick decisions.
Teamwork And Collaboration
Emphasize the importance of working as a cohesive unit to foster a collaborative environment where everyone supports each other.
Mock Events And Role-Playing
Simulating event scenarios through mock events or role-playing can be an effective training tool. This hands-on approach allows volunteers to practice their skills in a controlled environment, receive feedback, and build confidence before the event.
Familiarity With Tools And Technology
Being familiar with various tools and technologies is crucial. For example, make sure your volunteers know how to use and are comfortable with using your organization’s software, social media platforms, online donation tools, etc.
Compliance And Legal Training
Ensure that volunteers know any legal guidelines or compliance issues related to fundraising, especially if it involves financial transactions or handling sensitive personal data.
Cultural Sensitivity And Inclusivity Training
Fundraising events often bring together diverse groups of people. Training volunteers on cultural sensitivity and inclusivity ensures all attendees feel welcomed and respected.
Feedback And Continuous Learning
Post-event debriefings are essential. Get volunteer feedback about their experiences,
what worked well, and what could be improved. Continuous learning helps refine your strategies for future events.
Inspiring Passion And Enthusiasm
Inspiring your volunteers is a major part of training new nonprofit volunteers. Share success stories and show them the tangible results of their efforts. Also, remind them of the bigger picture – the impact they’re helping to make.
Training volunteers for fundraising events is a multifaceted process beyond imparting skills. It’s about inspiring confidence, fostering a sense of community, and aligning everyone towards a common goal. Volunteers who are well-prepared contribute to the event’s success and become enthusiastic advocates for your cause. A comprehensive approach to training ensures that your nonprofit isn’t just organizing an event. You’re building an empowered community that’s focused on making a lasting impact.