June 23, 2024

Why Volunteers Stop Serving

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard 114

In spite of the economic downturn, many individuals continue to serve in their communities–helping their neighbors and organizing service projects.

In  2008, 61.8 million adults donated approximately 8 billion hours of time, and yet, over one-third of these individuals (35.5%) stopped volunteering and did not serve with any organization the following year.  This high rate of volunteer turnover has forced nonprofits to focus on replacing volunteers instead of maximizing impact and building organizational capacity.

A July 2009 report titled Pathways to Service posted on Volunteering In America identified five barriers that may keep individuals from volunteering or returning to service.

Key Findings

1.  Personal invitations to serve are more appealing to prospective volunteers.

Many individuals said they had never volunteered because they had never been asked. These same non-volunteers also said that if they were asked, they would be open to volunteering.

Organizations need to address this misconception in order to effectively recruit new volunteers.  Having existing volunteers share their stories can help non-volunteers see that they are just like those who serve.
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Add Tech Volunteers to Your Team

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard
It’s almost impossible to effectively recruit and manage volunteers today without fully engaging technology.  Successful volunteer   managers increasingly…

• Use volunteer management software to streamline their operations
• Maximize their organization’s website by posting volunteer applications, newsletters, position descriptions, photos,  videos, and more
• Utilize social networking sites
• Post and update volunteer positions on online recruitment sites
• Take advantage of free online software and tools like wikis and Google docs
• Blog and Twitter
• Employ multiple methods to communicate with volunteers including text messaging, Skype, and list-serves.

If you don’t have the staff or skills to manage this brave new world, you can improve your chances of success by adding tech volunteers to your team.  And, these individuals don’t  have to live in your community to be helpful!

Before you go in search of help, be sure to download TechSoup’s free manual,  Working with Technical Volunteers: A Manual for NPOs. This recently updated guide includes the latest tech specs to use during volunteer interviews. The manual also includes comprehensive worksheets, sample applications, volunteer contracts, and questionnaires.
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You Can Organize Volunteers with Free Online Tool


What is VolunteerSpot?
VolunteerSpot is a free, online sign-up tool that makes grass-roots volunteering easier. Volunteer leaders now have the ability to easily and quickly mobilize and coordinate volunteers in their community, congregation or social network.

VolunteerSpot is the brain child of Karen Bantuveris, an Austin, Texas, management consultant who launched the website in the fall of 2008. “I got involved with volunteering through leadership positions in PTA and Scouts,” she said. “Anyone who has volunteered knows how difficult it can be to organize groups of people.  There are a lot of phone calls, sign-up sheets and back-and-forth e-mails. Good people sometimes stop volunteering because it’s such a hassle.”

How does VolunteerSpot work?

There are three simple steps.

  1. The leader creates a schedule of volunteer needs on the online calendar and invites people to sign up with an e-mail.
  2. Volunteers click a link to see what spots are available and choose when and how they want to help.
  3. VolunteerSpot sends automated confirmation and reminder messages which help everyone keep their commitments.

Because all of this happens in real-time, the schedule is always current. This significantly reduces coordination time and makes the process easier for everyone.

VolunteerSpot will always offer a free service to local-level volunteers. They will, however, charge corporations and groups wanting to brand the Web site, and will be adding premium features, such as hours tracking.

“We’re thrilled with the positive customer feedback and how fast we are spreading to new groups,” says Karen. “It feels good to already be helping so many people.”

Volunteer leaders have received a real gift from this free management tool. Karen’s goal is that grass-root groups and nonprofits from all over the United States will use their Web site to make a big difference in their communities.

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