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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.

~ April 2007 ~ Topics

Facts on Literacy
Cell Phone Advocacy
Nonprofit Postal Rates Up - Maybe?
Nonprofit Programs Drive Others to Start Their Own Organizations

Facts on Literacy

Managing volunteers can sometimes rely on the individual's ability to read. Reading and literacy are the focus of many volunteer programs. Here are some facts.

  • 35 million US adults have difficulty with common literacy tasks—completing an application or finding information in a handbook. About 21%-23% of the adult population read at the lowest literacy level. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics)
  • Approximately 11% of incoming college freshman in 2005 required remedial reading training. 14% required remedial writing. These are the leading predictors of dropping out of college. (Source: The Alliance for Excellent Education 2006)
  • Globally, about 861 million adults were illiterate in 2002. Almost 70% live in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as East and South Asia, including India, China, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. (Source: UNESCO-Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2005)
  • From 1982 to 2002 adults between 18-24 went from being the most-likely group to read literature to the least likely. (Source: The National Endowment for the Arts, Reading as Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America)
  • In 2001 the US Association of Manufacturers reported that US employers ranked poor reading skills as the second most serious skill deficiency among current hourly employees. (Source: The National Association of Manufacturers)

Cell Phone Advocacy

MobileActive is a network of people in Massachusetts who encourage civic engagement and volunteerism through cell phones. The group has a new guide on cell-phone advocacy. For more information, check out their website at: http://www.mobileactive.org/guides.

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Nonprofit Postal Rates Up - Maybe?

Rates for US nonprofits are likely to increase by this time next month. The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved increases recommended by the US Postal Service. It would be 11.7% on periodicals and a 6.7% increase on flat mail. The latter is a decrease from the 8.9% increase that had been requested.

The Direct Marketing Association, which represents 400 nonprofit mailers has asked the Postal Service for a one-year delay in the rate increases. The DMA feels the increase would double postal costs for many nonprofits and be a hardship.

All rate increases are reviewed by the Postal Service Board of Governors, a Presidential commission. They have the power to reject rates and send them back for revisions.

Nonprofit Programs Drive Others to Start Their Own Organizations

A March 5, 2007 editorial in Time magazine is a stirring indictment of the flexibility of many nonprofits in dealing with volunteers with creative ideas (See Volunteer Today Home page for article on Multiparadigm Volunteering Model to understand the changes in the ways people are asking to volunteering). Author Dan Kadlec opines that some people are frustrated with "how traditional nonprofits are run. Too many charities cling to an outmoded mission statement, are slow to give volunteers assignments, that excite them, and perhaps shun older helps."

Kadlec maintains that many people are abandoning these organizations and starting their own nonprofits. His editorial gives tips and hints on going about that endeavor in a sensible fashion. To read more his book is called, "The Power Years."

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