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Money or Time? Educating Your Nonprofit’s Supporters About The Need for Both

Your nonprofit needs donations to help carry out its mission. Yet depending on your operations, you probably also need support from volunteers. 


Sometimes supporters are torn about when to give money and when to give time. Communicating with them about your needs and giving priorities can help everyone feel involved, respected, and united in helping your organization carry out its mission. 

Engagement Is Key 

Your supporters care about your mission. It’s why they became your supporters in the first place! But if they’re to remain your supporters, they need to know that their participation is making a difference. 

You can help keep your supporters engaged by communicating frequently with them about both your organization’s achievements and their role in helping you get those wins. Be sure to give shout outs for results earned by both financial and time and talent donations. 

With i3 Nonprofit Solutions Text-Messaging, you can keep your supporters informed and excited with brief but regular texts. 

Encouraging Financial Giving 

Let supporters know about your organization’s needs that only monetary donations can meet. Also educate them about all your sources of financial funding. If their financial donations are especially needed for certain budget items, tell them. The more clearly they can picture how their donations will be spent, the more likely they are to feel an integral part of your organization and mission. 

In addition, providing donors with several options for how, when, and how much to give helps them feel like there’s a donation option that fits their lifestyle and budget. Regular donations may be your lifeblood. Explain why. For those who can’t commit to giving regularly, offer other choices. Their involvement is meaningful, too, and you can tell them all the ways in which their one-time donations make a difference. 

With our Text-Giving tool, you can reach out to donors by category and solicit immediate donations via text. You can ask your repeat donors to increase their giving amount—and tell them why the extra funds are needed. And you can ask your occasional donors to support a special project or meet a temporary shortfall. 

And don’t forget to educate your supporters about the benefits of giving in general. 

One stufy found that of 700 donors, 42% agreed the enjoyment they receive from giving is a key influence. Other studies have found that there is a link between charitable giving and increased activity in the area of the brain that registers pleasure. 

Encouraging Volunteerism 

Building a strong volunteer program benefits nonprofits in a myriad of ways. Not only can volunteers play a critical part in helping you carry out your mission and projects, they can also assist you in developing your supporter base. Volunteers are often essential to planning and executing public-facing events, which in turn bring in more funding—and more supporters. 

Volunteers appreciate good organization and structure. They want to feel their time is well-spent and that schedules and tasks are in place for them. That is why a well-organized, charismatic, and empathetic volunteer coordinator is a key staff role for many nonprofits. 

Educating and thanking your volunteers is just as important as educating and thanking your financial donors. Tell them about all the accomplishments their time and talents help your organization achieve. Let them know as specifically as possible about all the people their efforts are benefitting. 

Of course, volunteering also benefits the volunteers! Volunteering allows them to meet people, make friends, and spend time with others who have similar values. It also helps them build self-confidence and self-esteem. And it has physical benefits as well. For example, a Carnegie Mellon University study found that adults over 50 who volunteered regularly were less likely to develop high blood pressure. And a study from the London School of Economics looked at the relationship between happiness and volunteering among a group of American adults. They found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. 

Rolling the Snowball 

For nonprofits and faith-based organizations, fostering monetary giving as well as donations of time and talent is like rolling a snowball. The more you communicate with and educate your supporters, the bigger the snowball grows. And the bigger the snowball grows, the more likely it becomes to pick up more volunteers and donors along the way. 


Eventually, if the momentum you’ve generated is powerful enough, the snowball starts to roll downhill, of its own accord. Just keep communicating, educating, and thanking—then get out of the way and watch the amazing things your organization will do! 

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