The Value of Volunteers

This week the Corporation for National and Community Service released Volunteering in America 2009, a report on volunteering trends and demographics. It’s important for nonprofits to review and use a report such as this to help with volunteer engagement. Consider how your organization can use the results to motivate and engage current and new volunteers. Do you regularly track time, skills and financial contributions of volunteers? By understanding a volunteers contributions, an organization can share with current volunteers how their support is helping the organization work toward its mission.

Also, tracking your volunteer data will benefit your organization when completing the Form 990. It’s important you include the impact of volunteers when describing accomplishments within the Form 990, but the form also specifically asks organizations, “Provide the number of volunteers, full-time and part-time, who provided volunteer services to the organization during the reporting year. Organizations that do not keep track of this information in their books and records or report this information elsewhere (such as in annual reports or grant proposals) may provide a reasonable estimate, and may use any reasonable basis for determining this estimate. Organizations may, but are not required to, provide an explanation on Schedule O (Form 990) of how this number was determined, and the types of services or benefits provided by the organization’s volunteers.”

Nonprofits should use volunteer data to recruit new volunteers. Educate them on how their gift of time is valuable and helps an organization achieve its goals. It’s important to remember your volunteers are ambassadors of your organization. By informing them of the impact their work is making, it will develop a deeper commitment to the organization

Highlights from the report include:
• 61.8 million Americans volunteered through an organization in 2008
• America’s volunteers dedicated more than 8 billion hours of service in 2008
• $162 billion of service contributed
• Volunteers were more likely than non-volunteers to donate to a charitable cause in 2008, with 78.2 percent contributing $25 or more compared to 38.5 percent of non-volunteers.

Michigan highlights include:
• 2.3 million volunteers
• 325 million hours of service
• $6.6 billion of service contributed

Click here for the Volunteering in America report. You can also check out recent media coverage of the report by USA Today, Washington Post and the Associated Press.

If you’re interested in more data specific to Michigan, click here. We also encourage you to check out the press room for more resources to help you develop your strategies for recruiting and retaining volunteers.

Michigan Nonprofit Association provides additional resources on volunteer data for Michigan. Check out the Snapshot of Giving and Volunteering in Michigan 2009 report.

Background: Volunteering in America 2009 is based on data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics through a “volunteering supplement” to the Current Population Survey from 2002 to 2008. Volunteers are defined as persons who did unpaid work through or for an organization. The report includes information for all 50 states, Washington DC, and 198 cities, including 51 large cities, 75 mid-size cities, and 72 additional cities, based on Metropolitan Statistical Areas. This information includes the volunteer rate; the types of organizations through which residents serve; their main volunteering activities; the average hours per year and volunteer rates for age and gender demographic groups, and key trends and highlights.

DianaANote: This post is authored by Diana Algra Diana Algra currently serves as the Executive Director of the Volunteer Centers of Michigan, an association that represents the 27 Volunteer Centers in Michigan. Her community involvement includes serving on the boards of the Capital Region Community Foundation, Sparrow Health System Community Council, and the Capital Area United Way Community Impact Committee. She also serves as a “Lunch Buddy” for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lansing program.

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  1. […] The Value of Volunteers at Michigan Nonprofit Association […]

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