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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.

~ October 2005 ~ Topics

Katrina Service

In the wake of the disaster following hurricane Katrina, Volunteer Today established a series of pages in service to those managing the volunteer efforts in the Gulf States. In the wake of Hurricane Rita we have a wider service area.

The purpose of the "Katrina" pages is to provide assistance to anyone serving as a manager of volunteers in the stricken area. There are first person accounts from volunteers and managers, substantive information on coping with secondary trauma, links to useful sites, and articles on managing under the direst of conditions. There is a listserv for managers of volunteers to talk about what is happening, what it means, ask questions and share ideas. The list is only available to those who are working in the area of managing volunteers. That is to provide a bit of privacy to people who want to vent (and vent they should!). If you want to sign up for the listserv, visit the VTRelief page. It will give you instructions.

Volunteer Today is also serving as a matching service for organizations seeking a substitute manager of volunteers to give current staff a break. This is aimed at those in the stricken area. Managers of volunteers interested in serving in the Manager of Volunteers Respite Corps are signing up to help their colleagues. About 30 people have completed the forms so organizations can contact them for possible placement in an organization in the Gulf States area. Go to the VT Homepage and click on the appropriate Respite Corps link. There is a page for organizations wanting volunteers and a page those wishing who wish to volunteer.

All this effort was made possible by 20 volunteers working quickly to offer suggestions, articles, links and heaps of time to make services available to managers of volunteers. Now, we need your help to get the word out about this service. If you have sister organizations in the affected area, please let them know what is happening and send them to Volunteer Today. Questions: email: editor@volunteertoday.com.

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Employed Americans Value Volunteering

Corporate volunteer programs are supported by employees nation wide. A recent study by Deloitte & Touche USA discovered this by interviewing currently employed Americans.

  • 92% of Americans believe it is important for companies to offer employees volunteer opportunities
  • 87% believe companies should contribute cash, products, or in-kinds services to local nonprofit organizations and community groups.
  • 58% said workplace volunteering helps boost morale.
  • 63% believes that volunteering helps communicate a company's values.

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AARP Asks About Giving and Volunteering

A survey by AARP of those over 45 years of age discovered the following:

  • 80% of those over 45 are currently volunteering in some way.
  • Areas of the most appeal to older people are activities to benefit the elderly, children, and neighborhoods.
  • 90% of African-Americans said they were most likely to volunteer on their own or with an organization. Asian-Americans in the study preferred to volunteer occasionally, rather than on a regular schedule.
  • Hispanics contributed the highest number of hours (22 per month) of those in the survey group.
  • Non-Hispanic whites are most likely to volunteer for three causes: animals (34%), the environment (36%) and public services such as firefighting and policing (37%).

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Rural Philanthropy Grows

Since 1999 the number of community foundations with affiliates in rural areas has grown by 132%. There are over 3000 geographically affiliated funds according to the Aspen Institute. 75% of these make grants to groups in rural areas.

Affiliate funds behave like a freestanding community foundation, with local boards and fund raising goals. By collaborating with a larger community foundation, the local rural fund can reduce its overhead and legal costs, allowing them to operate on a shoestring.

The Aspen Institute surveyed 241 community foundations that collectively ran over 1000 affiliated groups. The result of the survey seems to indicate that rural areas are taking philanthropy into their own hands.

Several other groups have studied these same phenomena and have reports available.

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