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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


Find news you can use on a variety of topics; opportunities to raise money, changes in postage rates; statistics and facts that impact volunteer programs; and more.

~ April 2004 ~ Topics

Volunteer Management Capacity

A new research study by the Urban Institute gives a clearer picture of the volunteer management capacity among a large sample of community organizations in the United States. It shows that nonprofit organizations do involve volunteers, they value the contributions of those volunteers as it pertains to enhancement of services and cutting costs, volunteer management practices are part of the infrastructure of these organizations, and many would like more volunteers. The study was supported by the USA Freedom Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the UPS Foundation. Full text of the report can be found at http://www.nationalservice.org/research/vol capacity brief.pdf.

Here are some snippets of information from the study:
    1. Four out of five charities reporting to the Internal Revenue Service involve volunteers.
    2. 90% of those involving volunteers say that volunteers increase the quality of service, reduce costs, and increase public support.
    3. Group’s report than an hour of a volunteer’s time is worth about $20.00.
    4. Nine of 10 organizations surveyed said they could use an extra 20 volunteers.
    5. The more time the manager of volunteers dedicates to the management of volunteers, the better able the organization is to take on additional volunteers and/or adopt the “best practices” of volunteer management that lead to an effective program.
    6. 62% of the organizations surveyed have a paid staff person who coordinates volunteers. However, only one in eight of the paid staff that manages volunteers is full time. In most cases they have split duties.
    7. In the survey the organizations were offered options on resources they would like; the number one option they said was to have a full-time person to coordinate volunteer recruitment and management.
    8. Organizations that partner with religious groups are more likely to report such positive characteristics as ability to recruit more volunteers and gain more benefits from that involvement.

Regional Differences in Giving and Volunteering

Independent Sector has learned that where you live can usually predict the level of volunteering and giving. In a study titled, "A Nation of Givers: Regional Patterns in American Giving and Volunteering," the Washington, DC based organization says that stimulating donations and time and money are influenced by location.
  • For example, in the West, if you own a home there is a strong possibility you donate to charity. Annual giving by homeowners is 174% higher than among renters. Homeowners donate on average $2500, while renters donate $900 annually.
  • In the Midwest charitable giving by married people is 124% greater than in other regions. It is the largest gap from the other regions.
  • Fifty-five percent of married people volunteer in the Northeast, while only 33% of single people volunteer. Northeasterner’s who have attended college give 123% more than those who have not.

For more information on this report on giving and receiving, call 1-888-860-8118. The cost is about $12.00.

Ethics R’ Us

Any organization with a charitable or service mission needs an ethical code. Such codes exist for business, industry, and government, but until now, there was no model code for nonprofit or volunteer programs. Independent Sector has issued the first such model code, for use by organizations throughout the US. "Statement of Values and Code of Ethics for Nonprofits and Philanthropic Organizations" can be found free at the group’s Web site http://independent sector.org or by calling 202-467-6100.

The code sets following the "law" as a minimum standard, but asks organizations to move "beyond the legal requirements." The document is being issued to begin the discussion of ethical conduct brought on by the controversies in the nonprofit and commercial world.

The code urges all organizations to enact their own standards statement. There is a special urging to enact statements that guide the group to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

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