Solicitor Slowdown? 10 Tips to Motivate Volunteers to Continue Soliciting During a Capital Campaign

Motivate volunteers quoteAs a nonprofit consultant, I have found that even the most devoted board and development committee members have periods of time where they slow down and/or stop making calls and setting up appointments. How do you reset their enthusiasm and motivate volunteers to start solicitations again?

  1. Bring in new blood. Capital campaigns take time. Often two to three years, and that can be exhausting. Whether great progress continues or there has been a slowdown, changes in the life of the volunteers and volunteer fatigue can set in.  Sometimes, all it takes is the expansion of the development committee to bring back the enthusiasm.
  2. Pair solicitors. It is hard to coordinate the schedules of two solicitors and a prospect, but the efforts will be rewarded. It creates accountability between the solicitors and should increase the likeliness of setting up appointments.
  3. Help the committee feel like a team. You can motivate volunteers by creating a camaraderie within the committee. With everyone working together towards the same goal you will create a deeper connection that will last for many years to come.
  4. Have the committee help each other. As nonprofit consultants, we encourage our clients’ meetings to begin with time to share individual experiences so that the rest of the committee can learn. Whether an interaction went surprisingly well or a solicitor received a lot of attitude, the committee can brainstorm next steps, get excited, and/or commiserate with each other.
  5. Create group benchmarks. You have your committee working as a team, create short and long-term goals that reflect that.  How many phone calls –in total– should you aim for in the next week?  How many meetings do you want scheduled in the next week?  Everyone should feel responsible for the effort.
  6. Create individual benchmarks. On the flip side, sometimes it is easy to hide behind the group effort.  Create goals for each campaign development committee member and make the goals public. This is not to shame, but to motivate volunteers.
  7. Recognize achievements. Whether you do this on an individual basis or as a group, continue to remind everyone how far they have come – even if there is still a long way to go.
  8. Move the time of your development committee meeting. The time worked when you first started, but “Jeff” took a new job, “Claire” extended her hours on Tuesdays and school ended so childcare issues have changed. A new time can bring different people to the meetings and a new energy.
  9. Consider the leadership. Is the leadership still excited about the project?  Are they still dedicating the same amount of time and energy? Whether you have chosen your committee heads by their capacity to give, their capacity to bring in donations, or their leadership skills, it may be time to add a third or even fourth committee co-chair to the mix.
  10. Make sure everyone leads by example. No nonprofit can afford to have people talking about what others should do than doing it themselves.  Remember, the one of the characteristics of great leaders is that  they do what they say they are going to do.

If you would like Mersky, Jaffe & Associates to help you motivate your volunteers and bring energy to your capital campaign, call us today at 800.361.8689

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