Seems like one of the constant topics in the nonprofit blogosphere is this idea of growing your donor base through providing volunteer opportunities.
My personal experience has been quite the opposite really.
Being an introverted analyst, I am always hesitant to volunteer for anything because that likely means some type of social interaction with strangers will be part of the experience. But last fall, I found a local organization that I was really interested in. I reached out to them, and they said they needed a long-term volunteer with a very particular skill set, one that I had and was excited to share. They were excited too.
Three-times I followed up with them to set a time to get started. And each time I heard the same thing: Someone will get right back to you.
And no one ever did.
Sadly, I don’t think my experience is that unique. One has to be very persistent to become a volunteer.
Now, I understand that people at nonprofits have a lot on their plates. I get that. But by not following through, I went from someone who was super interested in the organization to “forget them” in three short calls.
So, rather than volunteering being a path to becoming a donor, if an organization is not careful, it will became a shortcut to becoming a lapsed donor.