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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.

~ May 2004 ~ Topics

Study of Volunteer Management in Nonprofits Unveiled

In February, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the USA Freedom Corps, and The UPS Foundation unveiled a study of volunteer management in nonprofits. Conducted in 2003 by the Urban Institute, the research focused on how nonprofits recruit, engage, and manage volunteers and what value volunteers add to social service programs.

The study found that more than 80% of nonprofits rely on volunteers for critical activities, but admit they do not have the resources or knowledge to engage and manage those volunteers as fully as they would like. The study found the more time a volunteer coordinator dedicated to the management of volunteers, the better a charity is prepared to take on additional volunteers and to have effective programs. The most popular capacity-building option was the addition of a one-year, full-time volunteer with a living stipend (like an AmeriCorps member) with responsibility for volunteer recruitment and management.

According to The UPS Foundation, the study is the first phase of a broader initiative to help strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector through the effective recruitment and management of volunteers. The research sponsors are seeking feedback on the study findings and recommendations.

This is an important opportunity for you, volunteer resources managers, to review the study and make comments. Go to http://www.volunteerinput.org to access the report and background information and to submit your comments. The
deadline to submit comments is May 7, 2004.

Who Do Donors Trust?

Question Head ImageCharities pay the CEO high salaries, they loan money, and they move money into areas that donors did not designate. And the givers grow skeptical about who is trustworthy and who is not. Harris Interactive conducted research with 21,942 people to determine the charities American’s find most trustworthy.

Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, and the Salvation Army earned the highest scores among 20 charities that were graded on their trustworthiness. The lowest scores were given to Global Exchange (an international human rights organization), Greenpeace, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The list was determined by asking 5000 people the two groups they thought had the best reputations and the two with the worst. The charities named most frequently made the list of 20.

Harris routinely gathers information on the trust of businesses, this is the first time they have asked about nonprofits. The report of the research includes information on business and nonprofits and costs $10,000. Large businesses may have copies of this report. Harris can be contacted at http://www.harrisinteractive.com.

Omidyar Foundation Changes Ideas About Philanthropy

Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, is considered a "radical" philanthropist. From its inception in 1998, the Omidyar Foundation has set out to fund a "network of social entrepreneurs and encourage nonprofit organizations to run like business." Recent pronouncements by Omidyar have highlighted his dissatisfaction with foundation funding of organizations in the conventional way. In light of this, he is folding the foundation’s assets into an organization called the Omidyar Network. The network will allow him to fund nonprofits, but also help for-profit companies where he believes social change can be promulgated. The new unit of the foundation will focus on influencing public policy. Iqbal Paroo, in charge of grants for the foundation, says, "it is absolutely our intent to continue working with the segment of the nonprofit market that is involved in social change."

Donation of Cars in Question

Many charities accept used cars from donors. In turn they sell to dealers and usually get wholesale prices for the vehicles. This a common fund raising strategy. The problem is that the original owner usually takes a tax deduction worth significantly more, sometimes over the recommended retail price. Lawmakers in Washington, DC are not happy about this turn of events.

Congress and the Treasury Department are working together to narrow this gap. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are working toward legislation that would require donors either to have the vehicle appraised or to use a valuation formula developed by the Treasury Department when figuring their tax deduction (House version), or require charities to send a letter to donors reporting the sale price. Donations of cars worth less than $500 could be deducted without a letter (Senate version).

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