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Volunteer Administration and the Fundraising Profession: A Modest Proposal for Collaboration

Volunteer Administration and the Fundraising Profession: A Modest Proposal for Collaboration

Liz Adamshick shares her experience in soliciting financial donations from volunteers and her realization that volunteer administration professionals must work more collaboratively with fundraising professionals. She notes:

It took many conversations to bring us to the point of drafting and sending a letter, and logistics were central to the discussion. Philosophically, the financial development director and I were on the same page: Donating money to an organization is a personal decision, and not ours to make for our volunteers.

Up to this point, we had been making this decision for volunteer staff, simply by not inviting them to consider supporting us financially. But our respective departments each worked with separate databases for the audiences we reached and tracked. We lacked any kind of contact management system that would allow us to identify overlap between these audiences, and specific evidence of their dual support of the organization through volunteer involvement and financial donations…

So while we had a skeletal system in place, we still had to meet on several occasions to exchange and compare lists, identify which volunteers were already donors (some were major donors, and had just recently been solicited to support more substantially a different campaign), and determine what to do with donors and volunteers who resided outside our organization’s jurisdiction…

During this process of refining lists, reviewing drafts of solicitation letters, and periodically touching base on related philosophical questions, I began to think more creatively about the potential for a deeper level of collaboration with my financial development colleague, and recognized that our respective professions had more in common than either of us had explored in the past.

Read Adamshick’s recommendations for why and how we must learn to work together.

To read the full article

Sun, 10/17/2004
Very well said, Liz and as you said, much easier said than done. When a volunteer coordinator reports to the director of development, and asks for the information you suggested about donations from a corporation, what I heard is that the director of development decided she should make the presentation, rather than having the volunteer coordinator do it. That's the worst case scenario of course. Your article has much to think about and moving together based on our competencies is a winning proposition for both the volunteer director and the development director as well as the organization at large- hence the clients and the community. Thanks for challenging us to think differently.

Tue, 11/02/2004
Excellent article. I would call it "A Crucial (not modest) Proposal for Collaboration" I am a strong proponent of this collaboration and you have done a superb job of giving strong rationale for both professions to form this partnership. I am currently writing a book that will discuss the key reasons that our profession must be the leader or a key participant in an organization's team approach to creating and maintaining a progressive volunteer program. A volunteer program will always be compromised when it operates without the team involvement of development staff, top administration, personnel staff, Board leadership, and other key staff who potentially impact the success of the volunteer program. You will definitely see your article referenced in the book. Thank you for contributing this article.