Tips for Dealing with Fundraising Volunteers
Volunteers are the lifeblood of so many of our organisations. Without them, the slack would trip us up completely and many key areas of activity would be completely overlooked.
- Be as positive as you possibly can! Rememeber, these volunteers are giving you their time and their enthusiasm for free. Make them feel appreciated and you'll make their day. And, you'd be amazed at how a little praise can help to defuse simmering tensions...
- Keep the communication channels wide open. Get regular updates from your volunteers on how their fundraising efforts are going - what is working and what is less successful etc? Invite their input and candour and always inquire about how you can help them reach their fundraising goals. If they succeed, so does your organisation!
- Don't play favourites. Address the group as a whole, whether in writing, by email or in a meeting. This not only will help to avoid the unhelpful appearance of favouritism (or even of picking on a particular person!), but will also help to foster team spirit and a sense of inclusiveness.
- Keep communications in the light. When dealing with conflict / disagreement between volunteers, communication and transparency is key. If, for example, a conflict arises, don't simply take one volunteer's word over another's. Talk to other relevant parties and try to arrive at a consensus on the issue before taking any specific action.
- The right person for the right role. To help avoid potential conflicts in the future, carefully assign specific tasks to volunteers (based on their skillset and availability etc), and make it clear to all volunteers who will be doing what from the outset.
- Be willing to listen, but be firm. If you do indeed come to the unfortunate conclusion that there is one particular volunteer who is just not fitting in well, talk to him / her and try to see if there is still a potential solution to the problem. If however you ultimately conclude that there is not, thank the person and politely let him or her go.