The CFC: Leveraging National Volunteer Week – April 15-21, 2012

Sections of this topic

    In the 7 Keys to CFC Success, Key #3 is “Use all 12 months of the Year.” By the time you get to the actual CFC solicitation period in the fall, you’ll need to have already planted the seeds of awareness in the minds of your current and potential new donors.

    Communication and marketing professionals will tell you that a person needs to have had at least seven “touches” (meaning any type of communication, including letters, ads, conversations, etc.) with an organization before they will act — whether to donate, volunteer, or make a purchase.

    One program that provides multiple communication possibilities for many non-profits is the “National Volunteer Week” program that is sponsored by the Points of Light Institute. It began in 1974 and has grown significantly over the years, and the Points of Light network now includes more than 70,000 organizations.

    The Institute provides many free resources to non-profits about the many aspects of National Volunteer week, including a free resource guide … that is available at: Resource Guide

    As stated in that guide:
         National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, 2012 is about inspiring, recognizing
         and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their
         communities. … you can leverage this brief window of national opportunity
         to advance your individual cause and promote volunteer commitment in
         your community.

    I added the emphasis (bold-face) to the above to help you understand how important it is for your non-profit to benefit from this type of opportunity. This is just one example of the types of leverage available to non-profits, but it’s an extremely important one – don’t let it slip through your fingers !!

    Volunteer Appreciation – Events

    Many non-profits hold their own volunteer recognition efforts during the month of April, and as they are recognizing their program volunteers, it’s a very easy and simple step to add recognition of your own fundraising volunteers, as well as of the federal employees who are CFC volunteers each fall. The most basic tenet of all successful fundraising is to say “Thank you,” but many non-profits do not take advantage of all the opportunities to publicly thank all of their supporters.

    Volunteer Appreciation – Press Releases and other Media

    In addition to live events for recognizing volunteers, one of the important tools that non-profits should use are the Internet based media release sites. You have a compelling story to tell, (or else you wouldn’t exist), use the fact that because of the visibility of National Volunteer week, many media outlets are looking for stories to tell about non-profits in their community.

    In addition to thanking the volunteers, and certainly if your organization has one or more “Volunteers of the Year” they will appreciate the coverage. Be sure to thank your fundraising volunteers … and the CFC campaign volunteers.

    One of the important success tips in using Internet based press release services is to use accurate keywords for your organization, and you can end up being surprised by which media outlets are interested in your story.

    In 2011, the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park (a community park in Fairfax County, VA) thanked their supporters as part of National Volunteer Week, and mentioned some of their upcoming programs. A few days later a reporter from the Voice of America called.

    No one would have predicted that result, and it shows how media has changed — use the right keywords for your organization, and the media will find you. You no longer have to find them.

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    During his 25-year career in the Federal sector, Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach, served in many CFC roles. If you want to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, maximize your nonprofit’s CFC revenues, or just ask a few questions, contact … Bill Huddleston
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