Nonprofit organizations need volunteers more than ever and people want to volunteer. The value of a volunteer per hour is worth $23.56 according to the Independent Sector. We would like to think that all volunteers serve nonprofits out of the goodness of their hearts which is certainly a factor; however, your volunteers have choices about where, when and how they volunteer. Do you know what today’s volunteers want? How can you organize volunteers in a way that maximizes their impact with your organization and makes them want to continue volunteering for your nonprofit and your Derby Duck Race? Here are 10 tips to keep your volunteers motivated and happy!
Be Prepared for Them
Don’t bring a volunteer in until you have everything organized. Make the volunteer’s job description clear from the beginning and if they are volunteering at your office, create a designated area to work. Always state the outcome of the task volunteers are doing which will help your volunteers stay on track.
Offer a Warm Welcome
Show them around and introduce them to your staff and other volunteers. Have the director of your nonprofit stop by and say hello. Show that your organization is warm and friendly. Think about your nonprofit’s culture and work environment and if your nonprofit would be a place you would recommend to friends or family as a good place to work or volunteer.
Although the job may seem easy, take time to explain it. Another volunteer who is experienced can help new volunteers. In addition, be sure that instructions are clearly posted for volunteers and have a sheet they can reference.
Maximize the Skills of your Volunteers
Think of your volunteers as extra staff who are capable of performing complex tasks. Take advantage of their experience and unique skills. You may have volunteers who have marketing, graphic design or writing skills who could assist your organization on all levels, including promoting your Duck Race. Provide leadership opportunities to those volunteers who are willing and have the time to take on more responsibility.
Respect their Time
Everyone has busy lives and is juggling professional and personal day-to-day tasks. Decide up front how much time the job will need and include that information when you publicize your volunteer position. Provide a variety of different options so that your organization can appeal to millennial professionals, a busy soccer mom or the retiree who may have more time.
Saying thank you is probably the simplest and easiest thing an organization can do. Creative gestures for saying thanks include: sending a letter of thanks and recognition to the volunteer’s employer or asking those served by your nonprofit to craft a personal gift to give to treasured volunteers. In addition, you can send a thank your card to their home, including a volunteer spotlight in a newsletter, or plan a volunteer appreciation lunch.
Communicate with Them Regularly
Regular communication is motivating for volunteers while the lack of it is one of the main reasons volunteers become dissatisfied. If your organization does not have a volunteer coordinator, assign someone to be the point of contact for your volunteers. Including the volunteer coordinator on your fundraising team is a great idea since volunteers typically are your best donors. Also, respond quickly to any volunteer concerns.
Let Them Know They are Helping to Make the World a Better Place
Let your volunteers know their impact by sharing success stories about your programs. For example, share with them about the new building your nonprofit was able to add to your organization from proceeds from your Derby Duck Race. Update them on how your organization is progressing towards its goals. Give them tours and invite them to presentations your nonprofit is having.
Build a Volunteer Community
Host a barbeque or a volunteer lunch before starting a new project so volunteers can get to know each other. Volunteering is a great way for many people to socialize and make new friends, so if you think a couple of volunteers would get along well, assign them to do a particular job together. Furthermore, remember that younger volunteers enjoy volunteering as a group, especially with people from their work.
Help Them Learn Something New
Finally, volunteers want to learn new skills and are likely to have a healthy curiosity to try new things. Volunteering also allows people to try out a new career without making a long term commitment. Turning a volunteer job into a mini educational experience will be highly valued by volunteers and may result in some great referrals as your volunteers tell others about their experience. Your volunteers may even become loyal donors in the process.
A volunteer’s value is impossible to fully calculate. With these helpful tips, your nonprofit will be in the best position to recruit and retain volunteers to retain this priceless resource. What types of tips do you have to keep your volunteers motivated?
The goal of your Derby Duck Race is not only to raise funds for your nonprofit organization but to use it as another platform to bring awareness about your organization’s cause. Your story will have an impact on how many duck adoptions you receive, whether they are done online through your Equack website or in person at adoption events. It may seem easy to provide a brief sentence of what your organization does and link to your home website to “learn more”, but the power of your story should be highlighted on your website, adoption papers and marketing collateral. Here are some storytelling tips to help make your story most impactful when seeking duck adoptions.
- Keep your story short. The average human has an attention span of fewer than 8 seconds. Provide the most engaging and informative information first. If readers and listeners want to learn more, then that is the opportunity to link to your home website in the closing clause. i.e. “To learn more about our cause visit us at www.yourorganization.com”.
- Personalize your story. Many times stories fall into the trap of speaking about the organization and not about the actual cause and those affected by it. Have someone who is benefitting from the work that you do tell their story. Humanizing the story will go a long way.
- Don’t be afraid to add a little emotion to it. This will draw readers and listeners in and they will remember how you made them feel about it and ultimately remember what your cause is. No matter what, authenticity is key. Show people something they can relate to.
- Make it visual. A block of text can often be overlooked so videos are a great way to personalize your story if you have the capabilities. If you don’t have a video, photos can be just as powerful. If you are using text, be creative and play with fonts and colors on certain important words to make your message stand out.
- Ask your team why they joined your organization. If you sit down with individual staff members and ask why they wanted to work or volunteer for your organization, they will provide some insight that will help with the brainstorming of what to say in your message as well as personalize it. This is a great way to break through the “writer’s block.”
The best part about storytelling is that no two stories are the same. If you have any stories to share or ideas of how to make a story impactful, please share with us on our Facebook!
This Saturday, 65,000 ducks are taking over Florida and Georgia to raise money for youth in their communities. Keep scrolling to see who’s racing in Bradenton, Cartersville and Gainesville and the QUACK-tastic causes their racing for!
1. Lucky Ducky Race For Pace
Ducks Racing: 25,000
Organization: Pace Center For Girls
Where: Bradenton, FL
Who They Serve: Help teen girls achieve their academic goals, develop real-world skills and prepare for the promise of their future.
2. The Duck Derby
Ducks Racing: 20,000
Organization: Advocates For Children
Where: Cartersville, GA
Who They Serve: Provides services to children and families who have been the victims of abuse and neglect.
3. Rubber Duck Derby
Ducks Racing: 20,000
Organization: Boys & Girls Club of Lanier
Where: Gainesville, GA
Who They Serve: Provide after-school and summer programs for youth focusing on Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, and Good Character & Citizenship.
How to Leverage Your Fundraising Expenses Through Sponsorships and In-Kind Donations
Our blog this week discusses some tips on how nonprofits can put as much money as possible back into their organizations to cover fundraising event costs. An event like a Derby Duck Race can be time-consuming and the last thing a nonprofit wants is for all the money raised to go into covering costs and expenses.
The idea is to leverage the expenses associated with hosting your Derby Duck Race. To do this, the best way is to secure as many sponsorships and in-kind donations as possible. Partnerships with sponsors and local business not only benefits your organization but also the donator’s company as well.
Sponsors can underwrite your entire fundraising event or a major portion of it, all while creating enormous exposure for themselves. The key to getting a major presenting sponsor is to find ways to get them as much exposure as possible. Exposure could include press releases, email blasts, signage, logos on marketing collateral, and your Equack website. Another way is to create a new event and have one company be the sole sponsor for it. This not only creates buzz for your fundraising event and creates maximum exposure for your sponsor, but helps leverage your expenses.
Another way to leverage expenses at a fundraising event is by creating relationships with business owners in your community. Securing in-kind sponsorships will help with expenses. In-kind sponsorships are payments of goods or services rather than cash donations for your event. If you run a fundraiser that is tied with an event, getting food or prizes donated allows you to put more money back into your nonprofit. After all, the idea of working hard on a fundraising event is to raise money for a good cause, not to pay for expenses.
Be sure to check out our blog post How to Secure Sponsorships for your Derby Duck Race for more information on securing sponsorships.
Our ducks are ready for another busy race weekend taking on 3 cities between Saturday and Sunday! Collectively, 75,000 ducks will race to raise funds for at-risk youth, bereaved families, and various nonprofits in their community. The first lucky ducks who cross the finish line could win groceries for a year, cash, and more!
1. Reedy River Duck Derby
Ducks Racing: 10,000
Organization: Rotary Club of the Reedy River Greenville
Where: Greenville, SC
Who They Serve: Various local non-profits
2. YESS Duck Derby
Ducks Racing: 30,000
Organization: Youth Emergency Services & Shelter
Where: Des Moines, IA
Who They Serve: At-risk youth who need a safe haven and network of services such as shelter, food, counseling services, etc.
Our ducks are making quite the splash this weekend with nearly 80,000 ducks hitting the water in 5 cities. From California to Virginia, check out below to see where our ducks are making their appearance and the quacktastic causes they’re racing for!
1. The Graham Duck Derby
Ducks Racing: 10,000
Organization: Rotary Club of Graham
Where: Graham, TX
Who They Serve: All proceeds will benefit local causes such as Backpack Buddies, college scholarships, Teacher Appreciation Breakfast and more.
2. Ken-Ducky Derby
Ducks Racing: 46,000
Organization: Harbor House of Louisville
Where: Louisville, KY
Who They Serve: Individuals with developmental disabilities by providing training and development programs for them and their families.
4. Pulaski Duck Race
Ducks Racing: 5,000
Organization: YMCA of Pulaski County
Where: Pulaski, VA
Who They Serve: Offer various fitness related activities and child development center to help people grow spiritually, mentally and physically.
One of the most important components of planning a Derby Duck Race is sponsorships. Sponsors are the key to success for your duck race. So, how do you get sponsors for this quacky event? Here are some tips to consider when you are seeking sponsors for your Derby Duck Race and other fundraising efforts.
Allow Plenty of Time
We cannot emphasize enough that it takes time to secure sponsorships. We recommend allowing your organization 7-9 months to plan a Duck Race because the majority of this time is going to be spent securing sponsorships. Don’t wait until the last minute. The more time you put into it, the better it will be for your race. When planning your duck race focus on your sponsors first. As a first-year racer, GAME sends you a timeline to follow so that you can stay on track.
Form a Committee
Designate a few people to be a part of a duck race sponsorship committee. Their sole focus will be partnering with new sponsors in your community as well as maintaining current relationships. Oftentimes one person tries to “wear every hat” and do everything from securing sponsors to logistics to Adopting Ducks which leads to exhaustion. If you need to be involved in the sponsorships, make sure you have other people assisting in the other areas of your duck race so you can keep focused. Also, have multiple people in your sponsorship committee. This will lighten the load and bring fresh ideas and new perspectives when approaching new and current sponsorships.
Create a Prospect List
Think of all the businesses in your community who may have been involved with your nonprofit in the past as well as those businesses that you would like to partner with. Create a list. Even if a business has said no in the past, make sure to include them on your list. You never know, they might surprise you and want to be involved with a duck race since it is something different. Look for businesses that attract a lot of families (i.e. grocery stores or restaurants) and businesses that are related to your organization and cause. Also, pay attention to advertising in your community. If businesses are spending money on bus signs, billboards, street banners, etc. they might have some money to donate as a sponsorship too!
Before sending out any emails, letters, or duck feathers to your prospect list, ask your board members, staff, and volunteers if they know any owners or employees at one of these businesses. If they do, ask for a warm introduction by phone, email, or in person. Potential sponsors are more likely to open your letter or email if they have met you before through a mutual contact. Always remember, do not ask for money or present sponsorship levels in your first letter to them. Instead, let them know about your duck race and organization and tell them to save the date. Be sure to include that you will follow up with them with more information in the near future date.
Find a Media Sponsor First
Media sponsors are great to secure first. In addition, they can attract other sponsors since they will know your Duck Race will be receiving coverage. You can also include media mentions in your proposals as a sponsorship value. Some media may help you sell sponsorships and/or provide warm introductions as they already have a lot of connections in the community. If available, media can also help assist in the production of a duck race promotional video that you can show other potential sponsor prospects.
Remember to check our blog regularly for more tips on other fun elements for a Derby Duck Race!
In honor of the Houston Duck Derby returning April 12th, check out this QUACK-tastic highlight video from last year’s race! All proceeds go back to students at Grace Christian Academy. If you’re in the Houston area, help them sell out again for the 2nd year and adopt your duck today!
Adopt A Duck. Inspire A Future
This week, over 20,000 ducks will race for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana for the 29th Annual Running of the Ducks! All duck adoptions benefit the numerous programs offered by the club. Each club in the Acadiana area provides age focused programs ranging from 6 to 16 yrs. The goal is to provide “programs designed to empower youth to excel in school, become good citizens and lead healthy, productive lives.”
Such programs include:
- Sports & Recreation
- Health & Wellness
- Career Development
- Character & Leadership
The first lucky duck to cross the finish line will win the grand prize of a 2019 Nissan Altima along with other great prizes!