Ask your volunteers to ask

Asking volunteers to ask for donations is a great way to multiply the efforts you and your staff are making. But don’t forget that many people have a fear of asking others for money. Your best bet is to make the volunteer comfortable with the process.

Try role-play to give the volunteer the chance to practice what to say, how to pace the conversation, how to close. Once someone has said the words, had the chance to rethink and resay them, heard others do the same thing, the challenge is much less daunting. After all, the volunteer has heard himself saying the right words.

The best place for a volunteer to start is to share the story of why he/she agreed to volunteer. You may need to coach the volunteer into finding the most effective way to tell his story - he may start with “Well, Sally asked me.” But with a little probing you can lead him to: “My friend’s son uses the services of XYZ and I’ve seen what a difference it makes in his life—he’s happier, busier, more involved, and anxious to learn...” Telling his own story will come naturally to your student; the words, the ideas, the experiences are personal. This puts him at ease, builds his credibility with his audience, and offers a natural transition to the reason for the visit and the ask.

By role-playing the volunteer through his early asks, you build his confidence, shape the picture he’ll project, (ward off no-no’s), and prepare him for success. A great benefit to all parties involved!

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