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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.

~ June 2004 ~ Topics

Arrow Image Celebrate 21 years of Volunteer Today Arrow Image

Visit the Volunteer Today 21st Anniversary Page to relive those exciting days of 1983, learn something about the history of volunteer management, and find bargains on books. We're celebrating all year and there is more to come.

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Open Source as Model for Volunteering in the Future

Open Source is a community of computer programmers from around the world who have created free software. No doubt, the most notable of their efforts is Linux, an operating system that is free and drawing attention from computer makers. In the April 2004 "Topic of the Month," Mary Merrill compares the way Open Source functions and the rewards it provides people to how we might think about organizing volunteers in the future. Titled, "Being a Gatekeeper," the article is an excellent read for those of you struggling with the wave of episodic volunteers. It is positive and up-beat with excellent ideas. You can read this short article at: http://www.merrillassociates.net/topicofthemonth.php?topic=200404.

Facts on Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofit Associations recently released a report titled, "The United States Nonprofit Sector 2001." It is based on data provided to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the 990 form. Here is a snapshot of that report:
  • There was a 70% increase in nonprofit organizations from 1991 to 2001.
  • There were 264,674 reporting charitable nonprofits in the United States (US) in 2001.
  • Reporting nonprofits in 2001 had expenditures of $822 billion.
  • 86% of the revenue for nonprofits comes from such things as fees for services and goods, grants and contracts, and investments; 14% was provided by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations.
  • The sector consists of organizations in the following fields:
    • Human Services - 30%
    • Education - 17%
    • Health Care/Mental Health - 13%
    • Arts, Culture, Humanities - 10%
    • Religion related (churches/synagogues/mosques not required to register with the IRS) - 5%
    • Community Improvement, Public/Society Benefit - 5%
    • Environmental/Animal Related - 4%
    • Research: science, technology, social science - 1%
    • All others combined - 10%
  • In 2001, 6.5% of nonprofits had annual expenditures greater than $5 million; 82% had expenditures under $1 million.
  • There were 56,582 foundations in the US in 2000.

For more information: http://www.nccs.urban.org/statereport.htm.

Pencil Image Volunteer Management Capacity in the U.S .Pencil Image

The Urban Institute, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the UPS Foundation joined forces to examine volunteer management capacity among a random sample of nonprofit organizations and 541 religious congregations. The study was conducted in the fall of 2003. Grapevine reports on the study in its March/April edition, stating that the overall conclusion is, "The greatest challenges that charities and congregatons face is an inability to dedicate staff resources to and adopt best practices in volunteer management."

Here are some tidbits from this research:

  • In 2000, approximately 215,000 charities filed IRS tax forms. Of these, 81% engage volunteers in some way.
  • 83% of 380,000 religious congregations have some type of social service, community development, or neighborhood organizing project.
  • The percentage of time a paid staff volunteer manager devotes to volunteer management duties is positively related to the organization's capacity to increase the number of volunteers enrolled.
  • The best prepared programs and most effective programs are those with effective volunteer programs with paid staff who dedicate a substantial portion of their work day to the management of volunteers.
  • 3-out-of-5 charities and 1-out-of-3 congregations reported having a paid staff person to work on volunteer coordination.
  • Of the paid staff managers of volunteers, 1-in-3 have received no training in managing volunteers and they spend less than 30% of their time on volunteer coordination.
  • Less than half the charities and congregations use volunteer management practices advocated by the field. For example, only 33% of the charities have a formal type of means of recognizing volunteers.
  • Only 1-in-8 nonprofit organizations have someone who devotes 100% of his/her time to the management of volunteers. Only one congregation in the study had a full time coordinator of volunteers for its social service outreach activities.
  • The professionalization of volunteer management lags behind the professionalization of other disciplines, such as fund raising. For example, 55% of the nonprofits surveyed have a full time fund development person as paid staff or consultant, while only 39% of nonprofits have a paid coordinator of volunteers, and the person spends less than half their time on managing volunteers.
  • 91% of nonprofits and 96% of congregations with social service programs said they need additional volunteers. The mean number of volunteers needed was 20. This type of demand means 3.4 million more volunteers are needed just for nonprofit organizations of a size large enough to file with the IRS. (Such organizations must file with the IRS if their income exceeds $25,000 annually.) This number excludes the 400,000 nonprofit organizations run primarily by volunteers.

Want to learn more? Visit: http://www.community.ups.com/community/downloads/pdfs/briefing_report_2004.pdf.

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