How to utilize events to re-activate members and volunteers

Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 12:00PM

Hardy Smith, Nonprofit Consultant & Speaker

Our last blog post offered tips for developing new fundraising relationships as a way to maximize an organization’s showcase events.

Another way to take full advantage of your events is to use them as a re-activation tool for inactive members and volunteers. Here is an action list for implementing a re-activation plan for your events:

  • Make re-activation of people you haven’t seen in a while a priority goal.
  • Assign leadership roles for ensuring this undertaking is successfully implemented.
  • Have specific measurable results for your goal.
  • Identify a target list of names you want to reach out to.
  • Identify your active participants who may have a personal connection to those on your target list and get them involved with re-activation efforts.
  • Make personal contact and don’t make a big deal about previous lack of participation. My experience has been that doing so may push people further away.
  • Develop a list of tasks that can be done by those you are attempting to re-activate and ask what they would like to do. If the task list doesn’t appear to appeal to them, then ask what role they would be willing to play.
  • Involvement doesn’t have to be a major responsibility. In fact, too big a task may discourage them. The objective is to get them to participate in any way possible.
  • Get a  definite answer to your ask. Don’t settle for a noncommittal response like, “I’ll try to show up.” Get commitment for specific      involvement.
  • If the response is no, make sure reaction is positive. Asking if it’s ok to contact them about future activity opens the door for involvement later on. Follow up your visit with a note thanking for them their time.
  • Don’t delegate and forget. Provide any necessary information and instructions. Conduct supervisory follow-up as needed. Help people feel good about their participation by making sure they are successful.
  • A thank you after the event will have added significance and will encourage a continued active presence.

Moving someone from inactive to involved takes effort. For desired re-activation results, persistence is critical. You get what you follow up on!


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