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

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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.