Are you struggling to engage new fundraising volunteers? Delish Ice are committed to offering fundraising initiatives involving our delicious ice pops. We know fundraising can be tricky to get right, which is why we are bringing you a series of posts about fundraising.
Last week’s post focused on high school fundraising ideas that work. This week we bring you a guest post written by Mandy Weidmann, aka the Fundraising Whisperer, who shares her ideas on how to successfully engage new fundraising volunteers.
Mandy is a publisher of the Fundraising Directory and has even written her own book about practical fundraising for school and club volunteers. There is no question, she is somewhat of a professional when it comes to fundraising.
With fundraising experience in bucket loads, who better to write this week’s post. Here is what Mandy had to say.
Fundraising Volunteers – Connect With the People Around You
I am a huge advocate of volunteering as a pathway to connecting with the people around you. As a big picture, it’s about community-building. On a personal level, it’s about making connections and friends. It’s about belonging.
Some call it ‘friend-raising’ rather than fundraising.
When I ask people what their fondest memories are of volunteering, the first wave of answers will be about the friends made, people met, events attended and fun had. The next wave will be about the great projects they got to spend their money on.
In my book ‘Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers’, I list an ‘inclusive culture’ as one of my 5 secrets for successful fundraising. Here’s why:
- If people are having fun and feel they belong, they are more likely to show up as your volunteers and supporters.
- ‘Connection’ to your cause is so important in fundraising – and this is so much easier if there is connection between people.
- Nobody likes to feel like an outsider. It’s just not nice.
It is worth having the conversation: How do we actively create an inclusive culture in our committee and community? How do we make sure that nobody feels like an ‘outsider’? How can we help to create genuine connections within our community?
As a shameless introvert and somebody who does not cope well if plonked in a room full of strangers, I take great pains when organising events to make certain there is no room for awkwardness. It can take just a bit of imagination but I have to confess I’m pretty good at it (and so modest too!). Here are some ideas.
At your next meeting, have a series of ice-breaker questions in a jar and ask everyone to answer one. Nothing painful or deep, just something to lighten the mood and get everybody feeling involved.
I have prepared a printable A4 page of ice breaker questions for you to download.
The same goes for when you host an event. There are simple activities you can do to put people at ease straight away.
An easy one for a large group is to prepare enough ‘famous couple’ name tags for everyone. Everyone gets one as they enter the room, (or are placed when everyone is there) and have to find their ‘match’. Tarzan, meet Jane.
At a ‘significant milestone’ birthday party I threw for my husband, I had gone back to his childhood family and friends (he’s from the Netherlands) and asked them all to tell me some funny story about him that not many people would know. The responses were hilarious.
On the day of the party, I had prepared a piece of cardboard on string that everybody had to wear around their neck. On the front was a statement, and everybody had to guess whether they were true or false. On the back was a scorecard with spaces to record the answers from everyone in the room.
Straight away, everybody had something to talk about – to start up a conversation. There was no awkwardness, even from people who came alone. I notched that one up as a success.
At another event, I got a series of pictures of monkeys pulling different faces. They were very similar to each other, with only a slight difference. I cut them up into puzzle pieces – four for each monkey. Everybody in the room got a piece, and then there was chaos and a lot of laughing as everybody had to find the other matching pieces. Needless to say, it lifted the mood and helped to ensure that everyone had a good time and felt connected.
Ice-breaking activities are part of a broader commitment to an inclusive culture. As committees or fundraising organisers, it is our job to make certain that this connection and sense of belonging happens and thrives.
Now go away and plan some laughs. Happy Fundraising!
Mandy Weidmann, publisher of the Fundraising Directory and author of the Practical Fundraising Handbook for School and Club Volunteers, is Australia’s Fundraising Whisperer. You can follow her Facebook page, or sign up to receive her email tips here.
Need Fundraising Ideas?
Visit the Fundraising Directory’s 25 All Time Best Fundraising Ideas for inspiration.