Whether your NGO has recruited volunteers through an existing scheme or whether someone has directly contacted you willing to establish collaborations on specific projects, you should regard at the possibility to count on extra work force as a precious resource. Among the various tasks you can assign to your volunteers, consider asking for help in fundraising – certainly a crucial undertaking to keep your NGO alive.
Make sure to develop strategies able to maximise the potential of the newly recruited. First of all, spare time to get to know your volunteers and ask about their existing networks. On the one hand, you will make them feeling appreciated in the new working environment and, on the other hand, you will gather vital information to design and propose ad hoc assignments.
If the volunteers are part of your community, ask where they have worked, where they live, which schools they attended, and what they like to do in their spare time. Attempt to map out their existing social networks. For instance, if you need to secure private funding to implement a project, ask them to contact previous employers, schools or universities, and other NGOs where they worked to enlarge your list of potential donors. Since they have already been in contact with the new target donor, they will better know how to approach them and how to ask for financial support. Also, because these volunteers are part of your community, they could develop a door-to-door fundraising plan and start contacting people they personally know to make them aware of the activities implemented by your NGO and ways in which they could financially support specific projects.
If the volunteers are not part of your community, but they come from other cities or from abroad, ask them to help you develop a new strategy to enlarge and enrich your existing networks. For instance, if they come from other cities, draw on their social networks to establish inter-cities partnerships and also to get in contact with other NGOs working, nationally, on similar projects. In doing so, you will be able to access relevant knowledge in regards of previous fundraising campaigns in your country and also to contact donors that have already supported other similar initiatives in your region. If you have volunteers coming from abroad, ask them to help you profiling potential donors in their countries. Also, you could draw on their different language skills to translate your concept papers in other languages and disseminate it among donors active in their countries.
Importantly, if your first language is not English and you have English speaking volunteers ask them to revise drafts of your proposals for funding to international donors and to proofread existing material that your NGO has produced for dissemination. Remember that to master the English language is always an asset in international environments. As such, to count on the collaboration with English speakers is crucial. Not only you proposals for funding will read more professionally once proofread, but also, to proofread existing contents available on your NGO’s website will strengthen the message and it will make it easier for potential donors to declare your NGO as a valid partner for international collaborative projects.