Changing your perspective on your volunteer base may help you select the right auction Items for your next fundraiser

Retaining volunteers and selecting the right auction items for your fundraiser are not as different as you might think!

Both are crucial.

And both can help the other along!

So let’s start with retaining volunteers.

First, why is retaining a strong volunteer base important?

Volunteers give valuable time and energy to your organization AND they can become long lasting partners.

Valuable time and energy – 

The current statistics show that close to a quarter of all Americans volunteer. That estimate puts it around 60 million volunteers, amounting to 27.9 billion hours of time!


With an estimated 23.29/hour for value of volunteer time, volunteering is estimated at 184 billion dollars each year!


These statistics reveal two points:

1 – Volunteers give valuable time

2 – Volunteers have many other opportunities other than your nonprofit.

Long lasting Partners –

While nonprofits often look to donor support, they often forget how advantageous it is to create relationships with volunteers to build a volunteer community.

(Note: This is where selecting the most successful auction items starts coming into play.)

Volunteers act as a part of nonprofits team! If you decide to let them come along side you and truly help, you will receive more than just their time.

Through growing a relationship with your volunteers, a partnership can develop.

If the partnership continues, on many occasions your volunteers will be the guests and donors of the coming events.

Here are the four ways that you can let volunteers do more than just lend you some of their time:

  1. Invest in your volunteers
  2. Utilize their skills
  3. Ask them Questions
  4. Celebrate with them!

Engaging with your volunteers in these four ways will create a partnership that far exceeds the one-time benefit of an event volunteer.

Invest in your Volunteers

Energy investment usually is followed by an energy payoff. Investing in your volunteers is crucial. This primarily is through education.

Education requires time.

There is an education pay off for the short term and for the long term.

The short term –

When you give your volunteers a task, it is best to give them proper instruction and supervision. This education process will require extra energy, resources, and time. But it is imperative that you give your volunteers the ability to succeed at their job! Your volunteers will be more happy, the task will be done properly, and your event will be more successful and the need will have been better met.

The long term –

Studies show that volunteers will return if they feel like their efforts made a difference. Spend the time educating your volunteers on your cause, goals, and the specific ramifications of the task they have been assigned.


Utilize their Skills

Creating a relationship with your volunteers, much like you do with your donors, will better help them help you.

Part of the education process with your volunteers is your organization being educated on what the volunteer can do for you!

Make sure you are giving all of your volunteers the opportunity to use their special skills. This will only truly happen if there is a relationship established between your organization and the volunteer.

And you can be sure that when volunteers feel underutilized, they look to be more of help elsewhere.

Ask them Questions

An organization can gain much insight on their processes from their volunteers.

Let them critique your process – they are on your team! Let them help you make your processes run more smoothly and effectively.

Additionally, volunteers give nonprofits an understanding of the desired target audience.

This is where selecting the right auction item fits into volunteer retention.

Volunteers are some of your most loyal supporters. Most volunteers do not only interact with your organization on a volunteering level.

If the partnership continues, on many occasions your volunteers will be the guests and donors of the coming events.

So ask them what silent auction items would most interest them! Take a poll.

Celebrate with your Volunteers

You may have done all the steps right. You may have educated your volunteers, utilized their skills, and gleaned information about how to improve and what to select for an auction item…

But don’t forget to celebrate with your donors!

Be sure to let your volunteers in on the celebration of a successful event. Share the results of the event and show how their efforts contributed to the success.

Building camaraderie and excitement propels your organization and your volunteers into the next event with anticipation.


Don’t wait in starting these relationships now! Start reaching out and connecting with your past volunteers, ask them questions, and remind them of the victories you have already had together. Don’t wait on looking at the right auction items for your next fundraiser either. Charity Fundraising has a plethora of autographed memorabilia and vacation packages that can fit the needs and interests of almost any target audience! Contact us today to get started!