Volunteers OR Donors? Think Again.


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.

Need volunteers? VolunteerMatch has them.


As a nonprofit, every dollar counts. When you’re trying to accomplish your mission and efficiently get all the work done to support it, volunteers can help make things happen.

Finding good volunteers can be a challenge—whether you need them to:

  • assist with an event
  • help with a key fundraising drive
  • provide office support
  • be advocates to champion your cause
  • or more

teen environment volunteer 11578647sqJustGive’s partner, VolunteerMatch, can be a great resource for your organization. They’re a nonprofit whose mission is tomake it easy for good people and good causes to connect.”

Since 1998, VolunteerMatch has connected nearly 10 million volunteers to organizations they care about.

Find the specific volunteers you need

To get started, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, schools and other types of community organizations register for free on VolunteerMatch and then post opportunities to attract volunteers in your local area (or from afar if it’s a project they can work on remotely).

volunteer_recycle_man_21430890Volunteers find nonprofits by searching for opportunities by cause, location and even age group. When a volunteer is interested in your organization, you’re notified and can respond directly to them through the VolunteerMatch website.

Not only can the experts at VolunteerMatch help you find good volunteers, but a new book they recently published, “Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World”, can give you a more inventive approach to volunteer engagement:

This insightful collection contains actionable advice on strengthening volunteering. Among other things, you’ll learn how to attract millennials and baby boomers to your cause, the best ways to partner with corporate and pro bono volunteer programs, why micro volunteering may be the future of online giving, and why your supporters are a largely untapped goldmine of fundraising success.

Win this new bookvmgraphic

We’ve partnered with VolunteerMatch to give away a copy of “Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World”. Click here and enter by September 30, 2015 for a chance to win the book. You can also purchase it here and save 25%.

Holiday help

As you head into the busiest giving time of year, don’t forget to tap VolunteerMatch to find volunteers that care about your cause and are eager to help make a difference.

Looking for more resources to help your organization? Check out the rest of our Nonprofit Resources partners and their offers. And to keep up on the latest tips, tools and resources, subscribe to our blog.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product