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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 2008 ~

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Mobile Access Report

Are you still relying on paper newsletters to communicate with volunteers?  What do you know about the electronic access of your volunteers?  The Pew Internet Project just released information that should spur you to considering your methods of communication. 

  • 62% of adult Americans take advantage of mobile access to digital data and tools.
  • 58% of adult Americans have used a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) to do at least one of ten non-voice data activities—like emailing, taking a picture, looking for maps, texting, etc.
  • 41% of adults have logged onto the Internet while away from home or work.  They use a laptop or PDA.
  • 62% have accessed the Internet or used a non-voice application with a cell phone or PDA when away from home or work.

   According to John Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet Project, “People’s reliance on their cell phones, together with wireless Internet. . . suggests a shift in expectations about cyberspace.”

For the full report:


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Washington State University

Volunteer Management Institute

When:  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, September 16, 17, and 18, 2008

If you are in charge of volunteers or anticipate that you will be, this is the program for you! The Volunteer Management Institute is a program designed to help you be a successful manager of volunteers. Your instructors will provide you with new and practical information and many excellent resources to give you the skills you need to be a confident and productive manager of volunteers.

WSU's Volunteer Management Institute will help you to:

  • Increase your value to corporations, public agencies, schools and non-profit organizations.
  • Further develop your management skills and talents.
  • Gain ideas from seasoned instructors and colleagues.
  • Network with other managers of volunteers.
  • Earn a Washington State University "Professional Certificate."

For registration information:

Susan Butts
Conference Manager
Washington State University
Phone: 509-335-4097

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Careers in Volunteerism

Idealist has announced a rash of resources for those seeking careers in the nonprofit and voluntary sector.  Here are some great contacts.

  • A free guide to Nonprofit Careers, The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers.  Topics include Nonprofit Speak 101; Networking, How to Make Yourself a Stronger Candidate.  It is available online at http://www.idealist.org/careerguide
  • Nonprofit career fairs are occurring in
  • April 2 – Washington DC
  • April 8 – Indianapolis
  • April 10 – Philadelphia
  • April 15 – Los Angeles
  • April 22 – Atlanta
  • May 20 – Chicago
  • To find out more and sign up for the fair:  http://www.idealist.org/fair

Idealist partnered with Casey and Meyer Foundations, and CompassPoint to survey the nonprofit sector with questions on the future of leadership in nonprofit organizations.  The full report is available online at: http://www.meyerfoundation.org/newsroom/meyer_publications/ready_to_lead

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Trend Tracking 2008

The World Futurist society publishes a magazine called The Futurist.  The magazine shares the ideas and findings of a worldwide network of people who study the future.  The March/April 2008 issue contains a forecast section.  The items below are issues or problems that are likely to impact the larger society in which volunteerism occurs.  It is well for managers of volunteers and those working in nonprofit organizations to develop a knowledge of trends to use in future planning.


  • Population in the world peaked at 2.19 billion in 1963 and has fallen steadily since.  The US Census Bureau projects that annual growth will fall below 1% in 2016 and below .5% in 2047
  • The countries with largest population increases between 2000-2050 are Palestinian Territory, Niger, Yemen, Angola, Congo, and Uganda.
  • Industrialized countries will see fertility rates below replacement levels, and hence significant declines in population.  (This is not including the effects of immigration.)
  • Each generation lives longer and remains healthier than the last.  Since the beginning of the 20th century every generation in the US has lived three years longer than the previous one.
  • Life expectancy in Australia, Japan, and Switzerland is more than 75 years for males and 80 for females.


  • The elderly population (defined as those over 65 years) was 440 million in 2002 or about 6% of the global population.  The numbers will double by 2020 and triple by 2050 making up 17% of the population in the US.
  • In the developed world the proportion of people over 60 is larger at 1/5th of the population in 2000.  It will be one-third of the population by mid century.
  • In the less developed countries those 60 and older are currently one in 12.  By mid-century it will be one in five.
  • Japan’s population of those over 65 will be 22% of the total in 2010 and 37% in 2050
  • Half of baby boomers are expected to maintain their current standard of living into old age.  Over half will be dependent on government programs.
  • Aging populations in the US are growing faster in the suburbs, than the cities.


  • The number of Internet users in the US doubled from 2000 to 2007, to 231% or 69% of the population.
  • The percentage of people online has remained constant from 2004. 
  • The “digital divide” seems to be disappearing in the US.  African-American and Latino/Hispanic households are catching up.  In 2004 61% of black children and 67% of Hispanic ones had Internet access in the home.  White children are at 80%


  • The industrialization of a country changes attitudes and values.  Educational levels increase, there is reduced fertility, gender roles are altered, and there is broader political participation.  An example of this is India, with growing literacy, declining fertility, and broad voter turn out.
  • Societies in the developed countries are taking their cues more from Generation X and Y, than the baby boomers, who have dominated the culture for four decades.
  • Gen Y or Millennials value self-reliance and cooperation.  This means they are less likely to rely on government for things like social security, but will lead to more political cooperation, rather than the polarization of the last 20 years.
  • Generation X and Millennials are the most entrepreneurial generations in history around the world.  These are also people who have lived, in the developed world, with prosperity and it is an expectation.
  • While education is a need in the world of the future the current high school drop out rate in the US is between 18%-30% depending on who is doing the counting and higher in the inner cities.
  • About 1 in four high school graduates goes on to get a college degree.  It is the cost that prohibits that for others.
  • The trend toward preventive medicine continue to grow.  More than half of the US states have require insurers to pay for mammograms, as an example.
  • The anti-smoking movement is making its way across Europe.  Ireland banned smoking in pubs in 2004.  France and Britain banned it in public facilities in 2007.
  • Consumerism is growing.  Children in the US begin shopping as early as age six and 2 and 3 year olds are award of brands.
  • 59% of the female population over 16 participated in the labor force in the US in 2006  Among those 25-45 years old the participation level is 75%
  • There is a gender-blindness in the workplace for those from Generation X and Millennials.  This is true in the US, but also in India and Japan.
  • 58% of college students in 2006 were female
  • Family structures are diverse.
  • The fastest growing household type in the US is the multi-generational
  • Grandparents are raising children around the world.  In Africa due to the AIDS epidemic. In the US and elsewhere grandparents are caregivers for grandchildren who are the offspring of single parents
  • The average age of marriage continues to increase, as does the number of people living together without benefit of marriage.
  • Six states currently allow same-sex marriage or domestic partnership laws that provide similar protections:  Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Washington.  They are in the company of Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
  • The fastest growing household structure consists of the single person living alone.


  • The claims of depleted oil reserves is not credible as the numbers come from those with a vested interest in keeping oil prices high
  • Alternative energy sources might help limit the price of oil
  • 15% of the energy in Russia comes from nuclear plants.  By 2030 it will be 25%
  • In 2004 China had only nine nuclear plants, by 2030 the plans are to build 30 more.
  • Wind power generating capacity grew by 30% in the decade ending in 2005. 
  • Solar power is growing at 25% a year and it has been that way since 1980.
  • Global concerns about the environment moved from 23% of people in 2002 to 37% in 2007, in the US.  In India it went from 32% to 49%.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that 3 million people die each year from air pollution, which is about 5% of all deaths.
  • The European Parliament estimates that 70% of the drinking water on the continent contains dangerous levels of nitrate pollution.
  • Water shortages will continue to plague the world. 
  • Australia faces some of the most severe water shortages in the developed world.  Water from the Murray-Darling river system, which provides 40% of the irrigation water for the countries crops, will be undrinkable in 20 years
  • Many climatologists believe that global warming will increase droughts west of the Mississippi River.
  • 37% of the city of London’s municipal waste is recycled.  The target is 45% by 2020.  Seattle recycles about 50% of its waste.
  • 48% of the world’s populations live in urban areas.  By 2030 it will be 60%
  • 79% of people in developed countries live in urban areas.
  • In 1950 there were eight mega cities with populations over 5 million.  By 2015 there will be 59, with 48 in less-developed countries.
  • Up to one billion city dwellers lack adequate shelter, clean water, toilets or electricity. 
  • Fuels burned in cities accounts for 75% of global carbon emissions.
  • The love affair with the automobile in the US has more people living in suburbs than in cities.

(The Futurist, March-April 2008)

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