Fundraising and volunteerism: The power of reviews

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A look at how GreatNonprofits reviews can help increase support for your cause and grow your nonprofit’s network.

Why online reviews are a big deal

Smartphones, social media, and increased connectivity have made an incredible amount of information available to us anytime, anywhere. This accessibility has changed the way we make decisions as consumers.josh-felise-55613

Not sure where to go for dinner tonight? Check Yelp. On-the-fence about purchasing that sweater online? Look at its customer reviews. Instead of trusting a marketing department’s description, we want a real person’s opinion before we act.

In fact, a Nielsen study found that online consumer opinions are some of the most trusted sources of brand information, second only to recommendations from family and friends, with 70% of global consumers reporting taking action based on online reviews.

In the same way, donors and volunteers want to hear from real people before deciding to support a new nonprofit. According to GreatNonprofits,

  • 80% of donors say reviews influence their giving
  • 90% of donors say reviews help them better understand a nonprofit’s work

How reviews can benefit your nonprofit

I’ve said it before, but something all successful nonprofits have in common is effective donor engagement. People are more likely to support – and continue supporting – causes and organizations they feel personally connected to.

A great way for a nonprofit to connect with an individual is through honest, compelling stories like the ones supporters tell in online reviews. A review reflects a personal experience with an organization and is written in the reviewer’s own voice, adding a level of relatability that resonates with potential and existing supporters.

You can also use these reviews to create more compelling communications for your nonprofit. Feature a volunteer’s quote on social media to recruit new volunteers. If you have a review written by someone impacted by your work, feature their story on your website or in a newsletter to show donors the difference their support makes.

JustGive

How to get started

First: Claim your nonprofit. Take a few minutes to complete your organization profile and provide details of your impact.

sample reviewSecond: Invite reviews through social media, email, SMS or phone. Reach out to donors, board members, volunteers, colleagues and clients.

Third: Share those reviews on your social media channels,thanking your supporters and spreading your message. The site’s built-in sharing options make it simple.

GreatNonprofits reviews are syndicated across dozens of partner sites, like JustGive and Guidestar, extending your nonprofit’s reach and increasing your credibility with real stories from real people.

-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.

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.