W EATHERING THE S TORM: V OLUNTEERISM IN AN E CONOMIC C RISIS. About this resource. “Weathering the Storm” was a 2-part webinar series presented on Jan. 22 and Feb. 5, 2009. The facilitator was Susannah Fotopulos, a member of the HandsOn Network Leadership Faculty.
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WEATHERING THE STORM: VOLUNTEERISM IN AN ECONOMIC CRISIS
The Corporation for National and Community Service works to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.
Generated by the Points of Light Institute, HandsOn Network inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world.
To examine the current economic climate as it relates to increased need for social services and diminished funding for those services and the nonprofits that provide them
To discuss creative ways to utilize new and returning volunteers to maximize their impact
To revisit the basic tenets of good volunteer management, as these principles become even more important during challenging situations
To determine the role of volunteer managers, volunteers and service in pulling the country through this challengeObjectives
and how it affects us
Specific example in Nashville, TN: Martha O’ Bryan Center
Organization working with sexually abused children
Has seen increase in clients who’ve used their allowance of food vouchers and are seeking additional assistance well in advance of their next food issuanceIncreased need
75% of nonprofits surveyed are already feeling the effects of the downturn
52% of nonprofits surveyed have already experienced cuts
Nearly half were cut by 10-20%
A quarter were cut by 21% or more
Staff anxiety levels are high
Survey in November 2008 by BridgespanImpact on nonprofits
Nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is the delivery of human services:
48% of leaders say their organization has a contingency plan of the downturn
only 28% of nonprofits surveyed appear to have a "well-defined" plan (monitoring key tripwires, programs critical to mission, knowing how to cut spending)Contingency plans
“When people are concerned about their personal finances, their overall giving declines by almost half and their volunteering decreases as well.”
-Independent Sector, 2001
are they the answer?
Volunteers have of the downturn
Been strong assets during past recessions
Been motivated to give more help to meet increased needs
Had higher donor contribution levels
Helped keep organizational morale high
Volunteers could be a significant resource in the current economic climateHistorical importance
How can you help meet their new
expectations as volunteers?
4. Include current volunteers in planning for uncertain budgets.
5. Turn financial worries and fear of the future into reasons to participate.
Concerned about the future? Think what seniors on a fixed income today must feel. What better time to brighten their day with a friendly visit?Kids know their parents are worried about money (you may be, too). Show them that having fun with an adult mentor doesn't have to cost anything but an afternoon.
6. Address unemployment directly by offering résumé building volunteer opportunities.
You are still wanted for your talents! As you seek new work, spend part of those long days with us. Keep your résumé current while helping others.
7. Consider bartering as a form of volunteering.
8. It's as important to feed the soul as the belly.
steps to ensure a strong volunteer program
Maintain the volunteer manager position. of the downturn
Intensify the impact of volunteer recruitment messages.
Look for new pools of volunteers.
Assess the organization for new ways volunteers can meet needs and reduce staff stress.
Avoid any perception that volunteers will be used to replace paid staff.
Make sure there are volunteer opportunities that do not require out of pocket costs.
Take steps to build organizational capacity though volunteers.
Communicate openly and often.
(Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration)8 steps to ensure a strong volunteer program
Can service get us through this mess?
“Volunteer work is enormous in scale, essential to the welfare of nations, a source of great social contributions…”
-International Labour Organization
"A historic and deeply rooted cultural belief in the United States is that our country's social needs should be addressed by voluntary action to the greatest extent possible, rather than by government.”
-Kathleen S. Kelly (2002)
“A major national service program would also boost the struggling charitable sector, which is facing its own economic catastrophe: in many places, need for services is rising as donations are falling. Full-time national service workers are an in-kind subsidy to non-profits.”
-Is Obama Missing the National Service Moment? by Steven Waldman, Huffington Post, Jan. 7, 2009
Each year, 75,000 full-time AmeriCorps members leverage another 1.7 million volunteers!!!
Articles of the downturn
Websites of the downturn
Books of the downturn
The Resource Centerwww.nationalservice.gov/resources
Volunteering in Americawww.volunteeringinamerica.gov
For recordings of this webinar:
Part 1 (1/22/09) download or stream
Part 2 (2/5/09) download or stream