When it comes to writing an interesting volunteer or donor profile – a real human-interest story – for me, it’s all about the interview.

I like to be prepared with as many questions as possible, both top-level and context-specific. Here are some of my favourite top-level questions for unearthing a good donor or volunteer story:

  • When did you get involved with this organization?
  • What attracted you to the cause?
  • What attracted you to this organization in particular?
  • What are your activities and what do they involve?
  • What motivates you to stay involved?
  • In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
  • Why do you volunteer/donate?
  • Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?
  • What do you hope the organization will achieve in the near future? In the long term?
  • Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?
  • Do you have an anecdote about this cause/organization that really moved you?
  • What other organizations or causes do you support?
  • Do you have a message to share?

Ask everything – you can unearth some surprisingly interesting information with what seems like an obvious question. And give yourself enough time to allow the conversation to stray a little: sometimes that’s where the best nuggets and colourful anecdotes come in.

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira