Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Money Follows Involvement

All too often, I hear people saying that they're afraid to ask their volunteers for donations, because "they've already given so much" with their time. On the contrary, I have always been a firm believer in the idea that money follows involvement, and the rule of thumb that 90% of volunteers will also become donors. Today comes another study to confirm this vital link between your organization's volunteer and fundraising activities.

The new study, by Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund and VolunteerMatch, found that volunteers give 10 times as much to charity as non-volunteers, and that two thirds of those volunteers contributed to the the same nonprofits where they donated their time. Could that figure have been higher if we were not so shy about asking our volunteers for donations? I believe so.

The pool of volunteers (and potential volunteers) out there is huge:
The study showed that 72% of adult Americans (18 years old and older) have volunteered at some point in their lives, and 43% are currently volunteering or have within the past 12 months. More than a fourth (28%) have never volunteered.
Don't think that the 28% indicates any lack of interest. For many of them, it's simply a matter of not knowing how to connect, or being offered the right opportunity. Only one third of the non-volunteers indicated a "lack of interest" as their primary reason for not volunteering.

So, what's your excuse for not using more volunteers in your organization, or for not including them in your fundraising campaigns?