Motivating Millennials Through Volunteerism

Millennials are the hot topic in workforce development and chances are good, millennials are part of your workplace.  Millennials were born between 1980 through 2000 and by 2025 will consist of 75% of the workforce.  As Baby Boomers exit the workforce, they will be replaced by Millennials.

The word Millennial brings mixed emotions, but it doesn’t have to result in intergenerational struggle.  To build a cohesive team, employers must first understand the changing dynamics of the workplace and find creative ways to bridge the generation gap.  Employers play a huge role in developing their corporate culture and the overall satisfaction of their staff.  By partnering with non-profits in your community, you can motivate millennials, build cohesion in your staff, and improve morale.

Since millennials will be a growing part of your team, we have developed five proven tips to engage millennials at your workplace:

Provide Opportunities for Immediate Feedback:
Millennials need more than an annual review; they want to know what they are doing well and where to improve.  This doesn’t mean babysitting, however as an employer, you need to be aware of how your team is performing and provide periodic informal feedback. After a project or event, conduct a debrief where you can assess your team’s performance.  The same is true after a volunteer project, highlight where your employees shined.  This will improve morale at your workplace.

Provide Opportunities for Professional Growth and Development:
More than 56% of Millennials would prefer a job with opportunities for professional development, so why not partner with a non-profit organization to provide your employees professional growth opportunities through volunteerism. Encourage employees to volunteer where they can gain new skills that will benefit both the non-profit and your organization only provide new training at no cost to your organization.

Provide Opportunities for Leadership and Guidance:
Millennials crave mentorship from supervisors, however only 26% of feel their employers are invested in their professional development. Mentorship is an effective strategy to accomplish this.  Connecting millennials with higher level employees to work alongside one another on a team is an effective strategy. Linking employees with non-profits also provide opportunities for both informal and formal mentorship, especially when an employee is involved with the organization long term.

Provide Opportunities for Purpose:
Millennials are looking for ways their work will make a meaningful impact. They don’t keep their work/personal life strictly separate and want to get to know their fellow employees on a deeper level. Any time there is an opportunity to  work together as a team, your company benefits and the millennials on your staff will shine.  Collaboration and team work are at the root of any non-profit and your employees will gain an immediate sense of purpose when working on a volunteer project.

Provide Opportunities for Fun:
While fun isn’t limited to millennials, they definitely see it as an expectation in their work. Engaging your company in a volunteer project is a recipe for fun.   Who doesn’t want spend an afternoon playing with puppies at your local animal rescue or getting doused with water balloons at the elementary school carnival.  Find an issue your team is passionate about or a non-profit in your community and give back together.  We guarantee they will have fun in the process.

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National Volunteer Month: Have You Thanked A Volunteer Lately

April is officially national volunteer month.  Volunteers are vital to every non-profit and they come in all shapes and sizes.   According to the Corporation for National Community Service, 25.3 percent of Americans volunteer and the average volunteer in America contributes 32.1 hours of service each year. Non-profits rely heavily on the service of volunteers which is why they need to be recognized for their contributions.

Being a volunteer can be a thankless job which is why there is an entire month dedicated to recognizing them.  Volunteer recognition can be a powerful tool to keep volunteers engaged and prevent burnout.  Most non-profits don’t have to have a big budget to recognize or appreciate volunteers. The good news is it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to thank a volunteer.

Hand Written Notes:
Never underestimate the power of a hand written note; getting something in the mail is a rarity.  It shows the volunteer that you appreciate their efforts so much that you took the time to write a note.   Thank you cards from clients, board members, or others who benefit from your programs can go a long way to appreciate a volunteers effort.

Recognize Anniversaries:
A volunteer’s anniversary is a big deal and deserves to be celebrated because it demonstrates their commitment to your organization.  The longer a volunteer has been involved, the bigger the celebration  should be.   You can even publicize volunteer anniversaries in your newsletter, website, or blog.

Host a recognition event:
Hosting a party is a great way to appreciate your volunteers.  Bringing volunteers together not only collectively celebrates their service, but volunteers get to interact with one another and build positive energy surrounding your organization.

Solicit Feedback:
Take time to get feedback from your volunteers on the effectiveness or your organization.  This can be done formally through surveys or informally through conversations.  Not only do they have a unique perspective on the organization, but taking time to solicit their feedback shows you value their opinions.  Most likely they will have great ideas on how to make your organization even better.

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Three Simple Strategies To Make 2018 An Amazing Fundraising Year For Your Organization

Congratulations, you survived another fundraising year.  If last year was stressful or felt disorganized, now is the time to make changes.  Before you dive into special events, annual appeals and campaigns take time with your team to put thought into the year ahead.  We recommend these three simple strategies to make 2018 an amazing fundraising year.  

  • Get your 2018 fundraising plan in place:
    January is the perfect time to do a SWOT (Strengths – weaknesses – opportunities – threats) analysis to your 2017 fundraising plan.  Brainstorm with your team what worked well, what needs to change, and what threats and opportunities face your organization.Many development teams find the best analysis happens off-site in a retreat type setting      because they are removed from the distractions of the office.   The feedback will be important in developing a 2018 fundraising plan which will serve as your team’s roadmap.   Remember success in fundraising is 20% skills and 80% strategy making your 2018 roadmap an important exercise.
  • Get your systems in place:
    Without strong systems in place, even strong fundraising plans can apart because your team is wasting unnecessary time and energy to fixing problems.  Think about the tools and technology you need to reach your fundraising goals.  Does your donor data base work for your organization?  Does your website make it easy to collect online donations? Are your systems for thanking donors effective and timely?Involve members of your marketing, finance, and technology teams in these discussions because they often bring creative ideas of ways to simplify systems on how to thank donors and
  • Get your strategies in place:
    Now that you have your plan and systems in place, what are the steps needed to achieve your fundraising goals. What can you do to enhance your existing efforts? What tools can you use to enhance your brand and increase visibility to your organization and the community.  What organizations are charitably minded that would be a great partner.This involves both organization and time management.  Break your goals into bite-sized action items such as calling a major donor each week to thank them for their gift or a couple hours each week to enter fundraising notes into your donor data base.  Stick to your strategies; it’s easy to get distracted and let the plans you have in place fall to the wayside.

Once you have your plan, systems, and strategies in place it’s time to implement.  Schedule monthly check-ins with your team to make sure everyone is on track with their goals.

We at Givily wish you a strong start to the new year.  Check back in our blog section for more articles on everything fundraising.

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Keep Your Employees Engaged For Good During The Holidays

Let’s face it, December is a really hard time to keep employees engaged. Between online shopping, endless parties, vacation planning, not to mention endless distractions, even the best managers can find it challenging to keep your team focused on work. Instead of resigning to another year of getting nothing done, channel your teams energy while doing good in the community by engaging your employees for good.

Employee engagement with non-profits is a win-win for both. Companies who are actively give back strengthen their public perception and reputation in the community. Co-workers who volunteer together report higher levels of morale and employee engagement. Employees working shoulder to shoulder with their co-workers provides a greater sense of purpose and stronger company pride. Plus this is an excellent opportunities for employees to develop new skills that they are able to use in their job.

For the non-profit, December is often their greatest month of need for both goods and volunteers. Whether its serving meals to the homeless or collecting toys for low income families there is high demand for services, while many non-profits are understaffed. Many non-profits welcome volunteer groups because they have availability during the work week and having groups fill volunteer shifts takes the pressure off non-profit staff to fill each slot by individuals.

If you’re team is new to non-profit involvement, here are strategies to keep your employees happily engaged over the holidays.

Find a cause that your team is passionate about:
Your charity of choice should be a cause that aligns with your companies values and is an issue that your employees are passionate about. Most companies find that a local organization is most rewarding because they are able to give back to the community they live in and serve.  If you are unaware of the non-profits in your area, connect with your local community foundation or http://www.volunteermatch.org for referrals. Once you have a couple non-profit candidates, further research how each organization uses their funds.  The majority (80% or higher) of their funds should be devoted to program support.

Determine How Your Company Can Best leverage non-profit needs:
Use your businesses existing resources to better serve the needs of the community. A great example of this took place over Thanksgiving when a youth center had to distribute 1,000 frozen turkeys to the families they were serving. The non-profit connected with their local teamsters union who used their manpower (literally) to offload the turkeys off the truck and into the hands of the community. Win/win!

Create A Festive & Fun Atmosphere:
This shouldn’t be another work day for your team – this is a chance for them to get out of the office and give back to the community.   Whether wearing crazy socks, playing a holiday playlist,  or catering the serve day with a favorite food can set the mood for employees.  This is also a great opportunity for management to get to know their team in a relaxed setting.  Don’t talk shop, ask questions and get to know the people you work alongside.

Celebrate Success:
Nothing is more meaningful for employees to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts, especially coming from management.  If a member of the team goes the extra mile, public recognition in front of their peers shows the team that their hard works are appreciated. It can be as simple as publicly highlighting key project leaders during a staff meeting or thanking them in an e-mail.  Of course, gift cards, a couple extra hours of vacation, or other tangible incentives are also appreciated.

 

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The Rule of 7’s: How to convert your donors into raving fans

Saying thank-you never goes out of style. Fundraising is simply good manners; donors want to know that their contributions are appreciated and will be used for the exact purpose that the donor intends. Thank-you’s are also an opportunity to build a relationship with the donor and have the potential to catapult into additional and hopefully larger gifts. With the large number of non-profits in the community, it is important to differentiate your organization from others and build donor loyalty.

Experts recommend connecting with your donor seven times during the year so that when you are ready to make an ask the following year, a donor is confident in your mission and leadership. This simple yet effective concept is known as the rule of 7’s. Start by creating a calendar and map out touch points where you can further educate and engage your donors.

Initial Thank-You:
The thank-you is the first step to building the relationship with the donor and is also the donor’s first impression of your fundraising team. If you are using a form letter, it never hurts to write a simple handwritten note on the letter with a personalized message.

Invitation to Program Events:
New donors may not a lot about your programs or services so inviting them to your program events is a great educational opportunity to further tell your organization’s story. Both large scale and intimate events can work well, the important thing is for the donor to see your programs in action.

Newsletter:
The newsletter (or e-newsletter) is a great way to highlight all the good your organization is doing in your community. It is also an opportunity to highlight program success stories, donors, and donors.

In Person Meeting:
Meeting with a donor is a great listening opportunity to get to know the donor and intimately build your relationship with them. Find out what programs in your organization are important to the donor, how they came to your organization, plus information about their family, hobby, and interests. These details can be invaluable as you are cultivating a donor for bigger asks in the future.

Hand Written Notes:
Never underestimate the power of a hand-written note, especially if it is a thank-you from a client. Most people only get bills and junk mail in their mail box which will make your note stand out in their mind.

Program Tour:
Tours provide an insiders look into your organization but also educate and inform donors about all that happens at your facility. Schedule a client and/or volunteer to accompany you on the tour to provide a program because they are your biggest fans and can help tell the story of your organization.

Birthday Card:
A birthday card celebrates the donor and let them know that you care about them outside of the donor outside of their donation. They can be sent via mail or electronically, but if you send them electronically make sure they don’t get caught in a spam filter.

By following these simple steps, your donors will be more familiar with your mission and be more willing to give by the time you send your year-end appeal.

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