Volunteers OR Donors? Think Again.

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About the author: Tess Srebro of VolunteerMatch is a Marketing & Language-Crafting Expert with a Master’s of Nonprofit Leadership and a B.A. in Public Relations. You can read more of her work at VolunteerMatch’s blog for nonprofit organizations: Engaging Volunteers.

Volunteer-donor hybrids are more common than you might think. This post looks at why this is the case and how to encourage it, as well as how to avoid some common mistakes.

True or false?

Volunteers donate their time because they are unable or unwilling to donate money.

Sometimes? True. Most of the time? False.

According to research, two thirds of volunteers donate money to the same organizations they volunteer for. Also, volunteers tend to donate much more than non-volunteers.

Surprised? It’s actually pretty simple.

When someone volunteers for your organization, they are likely to feel closely connected to your organization and your mission. This is especially true if you regularly:

  • Show volunteers the impact their work has on the organization and its mission.
  • Keep volunteers in the loop on what’s going on throughout the organization.
  • Involve volunteers in organizational planning by encouraging feedback.

I know that I feel personally invested in the organization I volunteer for. I get excited about the organization’s successes, and I advocate vocally for the mission. And when I was asked to donate as part of a seasonal fundraising campaign – you bet I pulled out my credit card. I knew I was already making an impact, and I saw a chance to make that impact even bigger.

But (yes, there is a but)…

How would a volunteer feel if they received a generic thank you letter for their donation that didn’t acknowledge the other ways in which they contribute? Probably not so great.

How would a donor feel if they started volunteering, and received no acknowledgement of their history with your organization? Again, probably not so great.

This is one of reasons why separating your supporters into volunteers OR donors is a mistake. Does your volunteer manager know when one of their volunteers makes a donation? They should. Make sure these communication procedures are in place.

The ultimate goal is, of course, to make your all your supporters – volunteers, donors, and those who are both – feel like the amazing part of your organization that they are.

Featured FAQ: Can donors make recurring donations through our JustGive donation page?

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Question

Can donors make recurring donations through our JustGive donation page?

Answer

Yes, as long as you are using JustGive’s nonprofit services, your donors have the option to set up a monthly recurring donation to your organization.

How do recurring donations work?

Recurring donations, also known as monthly giving, are donations that are automatically processed on the first business day of each month. Donors are only required to enter their payment information once – upon set up of their recurring donation – which makes this an easy and convenient way for them to increase their impact on charity.

The option to give monthly allows you to break down your total ask, giving donors a practical alternative to a one-time gift that might feel out of reach for their budget (ex: $25/month instead of a one-time gift of $300). This allows them to contribute the same larger amount spread out over several months.

How do donors set up a recurring donation?

Donors can set up a recurring donation by visiting your custom donation page and following the steps below:

  1. Select the amount recurring-checkboxto give monthly
  2. Just below the amount, check the box that says “Make this a monthly recurring donation”
  3. Click Proceed To
    Checkout
    to get to the checkout screen and, under “Monthly Recurring Donations Terms”, select the month and year to begin the recurring donation
  4. Complete the donation

Note that donors are required to create an account on JustGive when they create a recurring donation so that, if needed, they can log in and modify their recurring donation at any time. Donors cannot indicate an end date for their recurring donation.

TIP: Make it even easier for your donors to give monthly by pre-checking the recurring donation box on the donation page for them with a custom donation button link.

When donors click the link, they will land on your donation page with the “Make this a monthly recurring donation” box already checked. Donors can easily uncheck this box if they do not want to make their donation recurring.

How do I track recurring donations to my organization?

When your organization collects donations through JustGive, we provide detailed reporting for each donation you receive. When you log in to your account and run your donation report you can see recurring donations marked with “Yes” in the Recurring column.

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Monthly giving is an easy and convenient way for donors to make a difference throughout the year. In addition to providing reliable donation levels, monthly donors don’t need to receive regular appeals. This opens up communications to the real-life impact of their donations, keeping your donors connected and engaged.

-Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

Turn engagement into donations

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We’ve already shown you how to customize your donation page to present a compelling message- check out 5 ways to customize your Donation Page for a refresher – but now take a look at how a donation button can help turn donor engagement into donations.

If there’s one important feature of all successful nonprofit fundraising campaigns, it’s effective donor engagement.  The simple truth is that donors support causes and organizations they feel connected to. As we discussed in our livestream with the Foundation Center, Doubling-Down on Virtual Engagement with Online Donation Platforms, online donation systems offer opportunities for increased engagement through social sharing and easier editing if something isn’t working. Additionally, as people spend more time online, it’s important to provide donors with the tools that allow them to make donations online.

How a donation button can help

Whether it’s Facebook, a website, or email, nearly all nonprofit organizations use at least one digital fundraising channel to tell their story and engage with supporters. By including  a free and easy-to-implement donation button like JustGive’s in these channels, you can provide direct access to your donation page while conserving your resources. This leaves more room in your budget for programs and other mission-based work.

Ways to use a donation button

Versatility is one of a donation button’s greatest assets. Justgive’s Donate Now button is customizable, easily integrates and allows you to maximize donor access to your donation page, setting your organization up to generate more one-time or monthly recurring donations.

  1. Include it on each page of your website – Your website messaging should be clear and compelling, letting donors know where they fit into this story. Once they’ve connected with your story, make it easy for them to show their support.
  2. Add it to your email signaturesignature-button
    – Adding a donation button directly to your email signature opens up the opportunity to engage with your organization and donate to anyone you’re in direct communication with. Whether it’s a previous donor, board member, potential volunteer, or friend, you never know who your next fundraiser or advocate will be.
  3. Include it in e-newsletters or other communications –  Even if it’s not your communication’s main call to action, providing donation access is crucial to increasing online donations. According to a recent M + R benchmark study, 27% of online donations are coming from email appeals.

To maximize the effectiveness of your online fundraising, add a Donate button to all of your virtual communications – the more opportunities a donor has to give, the more likely they are to give.

-Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.