The Important Link Between Volunteers and Fundraising

A recent study from Fidelity Charitable has shown that volunteering and donating often go hand in hand, suggesting that nonprofits that provide volunteer opportunities may have an edge when it comes to gaining financial support.

The study, Time and Money: The Role of Volunteering in Philanthropy, found that the majority of the people surveyed supported causes with both time and money.

A whopping 87 percent of volunteers acknowledge an overlap between their volunteer and financial support to a charity, with half saying they give more financial support because they volunteer.

According to the report, 79 percent of donors had volunteered in the past year, with 84 percent of volunteers expecting to maintain or increase their volunteering commitments in the future.

The question may be —which comes first — volunteering or donations? While research found that 58 percent of people are more likely to contribute to a cause before volunteering, 42 percent of those surveyed said they volunteered first, suggesting that many donors may use volunteering as a way of evaluating an organization before making a donation. Volunteering may also influence the size of donation given, with 50 percent saying that volunteering leads them to give more.

Volunteers are most likely to donate both time and money to organizations that support religion, education and human services while organizations that support international affairs and environment and animal causes are more likely to receive financial support alone.

A nonprofit’s mission and its ability to serve local community needs were the two main factors that volunteers said determined whether or not they gave their time to an organization. Also important, was the opportunity for a rewarding volunteer experience. When deciding where to volunteer, respondents said that the ability to use a specific skill set and the type of volunteer work available) were more important than flexibility of location, convenience of location, and the number of volunteer hours required.

The study was conducted in 2014 by Ipsos, an independent research firm, for Fidelity Charitable.

The full report can be found here.