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Seven Steps to a Smooth Volunteer Transition

by the AFRDS

Every year non-profit organizations struggle with turnover among volunteers. No position is more volatile than that of fundraising chairperson. We asked several seasoned fundraising professionals what they do to make the transition seamless:

  1. "The key to smooth transition is a strong volunteer reserve. The way to build reserves is to look like you know what you're doing. People want to join a well-oiled machine so they can get their name on the plaque, too."

  2. "Our fundraising chairperson makes a two-year commitment, spending the first year learning as co-chair to gain the experience they'll need the following year to lead the drive."

  3. "Keep good notes to pass on to the next fundraising chair. Include procedures for tracking money, organizing volunteers. No information is too trivial. Think in terms of what you wish you knew when you took the job."

  4. "Create a fundraising calendar that can be easily updated each year. Include as many details as possible - when to begin interviewing fundraisers, soliciting volunteers, promoting the event and so on."

  5. "We always ask our groups to give us a "report card" on how our company did and how the fundraising program went. What did we do well? And what can we do better? This record helps the next fundraising committee AND our company identify priorities."

  6. "I like to have a planning session before school starts. Most school-wide fundraisers begin the first or second week of September, if not sooner, and that's too late for planning."

  7. It's important that new leaders feel they can call for advice. Once you've given up the fundraising reigns, be accessible without appearing dictatorial."

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About the Author:

This article is from the March 1999 issue of the Fundraising Edge, an online publication of the Association of Fund Raisers and Direct Sellers and is reprinted with permission. Visit their web site at for more information and a look at the complete issues of the Fundraising Edge.

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