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Making the Most of Each Holiday Connection

There you are, standing over the punch bowl at the holiday party, chatting with a former board member or a volunteer you haven’t seen for a while. She’s just walked through your new offices, recalled the early days, inquired about how various programs are going now. She’s reconnected.

Would you be prepared, right there in that moment, to delicately suggest some ways she could be of help to your organization?

Maybe she’s not ready to jump back in to a major volunteer role, but she could host a little Point of Entry or dessert gathering in her home after the holidays—just to help you spread the word. No fundraising, of course!

Or those dear friends of hers you’d just love to meet—could she arrange that lunch for all of you to get acquainted?

The foundation board she sits on—can she help you arrange a meeting with the grants officer?

Her firm’s volunteer department—don’t they look for volunteer opportunities for the employees all year round?

Will you be arriving at the holiday party informed about the guests and armed with your mental list of opportunities for involvement?

If not, get to work!

You may need to brainstorm with your team to be sure your list is broad enough. If you know the guests who’ll be coming to the holiday events, you may be able to get very specific: someone to chair the big event next year, someone to help you launch the computer program, or that new young professionals group you’ve been wanting to start.

Play a game to see how connected or reconnected you can become in each conversation you have over the holidays.

It’s the time for reconnecting and then planting a seed that can be nurtured and grown next year and in the years to come.

Your goal with each holiday interaction is to connect enough in each conversation so that your last sentence can very naturally be: “I’ll call you after the holidays to talk more about it.”

Happy Holidays!

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Integrating Volunteers Into the Benevon Model

Q: Hello, we are starting to use the Benevon Model and have a question about volunteers. Is it important to integrate volunteers into the Benevon Model? We are trying to figure out a volunteer tracking system (for tracking their hours, etc.) and before we go down that road, I thought I would see the extent to which this is necessary/helpful while using Benevon. If volunteers fall outside the Benevon Model, then we will do a very basic tracking system (thorough Google docs or something like that). But, if volunteers should be integrated within the Benevon Model, then we need to figure out how to make that work.

Abbie in Tennessee

The main role for volunteers in the Benevon Model is being an Ambassador. An Ambassador is a short-term volunteer who commits to hosting a private, invitation-only Point of Entry Event for ten or more guests. We find that most donor databases will allow you to track this type of volunteer activity. Since many Ambassadors will be current donors, it’s ideal to track that activity in the same place as all donor communication and activity.

There are no other significant volunteer roles within the Benevon Model. If your organization uses volunteers in your programs, you should consider your needs for a volunteer tracking system with that in mind. Otherwise, a great donor database will get the job done. Bloomerang is a full data tracking system that is web-based and very user friendly, and allows for tracking volunteers. They offer a private label version called Bloomerang for Benevon that is customized to the Benevon Model. If you are in the market for a donor database, we highly recommend you consider using their program.