Are you Asking Your Major Donors to Volunteer at Camp?

By Julia Riseman, Mentor, JCamp 180

Volunteers can provide more than an extra pair of hands and lots of heart.

Did you know that encouraging volunteers to help your Jewish Camp might help you raise more money?  The most recent biannual U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy finds that wealthy donors are likely to give your organization far more money if they actively volunteer. How much more likely? Respondents who volunteered in 2013 gave 73 percent more than those who did not.

Robert Evans does a very nice job of summarizing the results of this important study in a recent eJewishPhilanthropy article. He writes, "Here's one essential message that applies to all nonprofits: encourage your wealthiest donors to volunteer for your organization."

The study suggests that high net worth donors are increasingly engaged philanthropists who see their donations as an investment.  They want to become even more involved, and welcome an invitation to volunteer.

How can camps take advantage of this trend? Here are some things you can do right now:

  • Stop assuming that wealthy donors are too busy or too important to volunteer.  They would love to do more then just write you checks. Just ask. 
  • Ask some of your current volunteers to suggest ways to make the camp volunteer experience even more rewarding. 
  • Conduct prospect research of your current donor pool to identify high net worth donors in your database.  Make a point to invite these people to come help. 
  • Identify small and large ways that you can engage volunteers, and incorporate adult volunteers into the fabric of your organization's work.  Some examples from other camps include:
    • Offer Work Party Weekends to open up the camp site in late spring and close it at the end of the summer
    • Request help at events: handing out name tags, welcoming guests, etc.
    • Ask for volunteers to host Israeli staff before camp starts
    • Seek new Board Members from your major donor pool

How else can you engage your donors as volunteers? And how will you steward all of your volunteers so they know they are appreciated?