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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. • The trainer’s notes are included on each slide in the Notes feature of PowerPoint. • To access recordings of the webinars, please find links on the last slide.
Sponsors CNCS The Corporation for National and Community Service works to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. HandsOn Network Generated by the Points of Light Institute, HandsOn Network inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to take action that changes the world.
Session description • This session looks at the current economic climate, its effect on increased need for social services and the impact on specific communities. During this session participants will tackle some common assumptions about responses to tough times and see if they hold a silver lining. As a group we'll discuss creative ways to utilize new and returning volunteers to maximize their impact, as times get even tighter. Lastly, we'll revisit key aspects of a good volunteer program, recognizing that the tenets of good volunteer management don't change when things get difficult; they become even more important.
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 challenge Objectives
The current economic climate and how it affects us
Visible impact now can be seen in human need in the community 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 issuance Increased 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 Bridgespan Impact on nonprofits
Impact on nonprofits Nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is the delivery of human services: • rely on $85.3 billion in government funding annually, 66% of their total support • employ 3.4 million workers to deliver critical services to over 98 million Americans • are seeing key services threatened • * Nonprofit Bridge Loan Proposal • Independent Sector, January 2009
Articles addressing funding cuts • Chronicle of Philanthropy: “Foundation Assets May Have Dropped 30%” • Nonprofit Times: “Layoffs Hitting Nonprofits Despite Need Increasing” • Wall Street Journal: “Big Players Scale Back Charitable Donations”
Funding cuts • 54% of respondents have three months or less of operating reserves • 74% of respondents have less than six months of operating reserves -Bridgespan survey
48% of leaders say their organization has a contingency plan 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
Funding cuts “When people are concerned about their personal finances, their overall giving declines by almost half and their volunteering decreases as well.” -Independent Sector, 2001
Volunteers: are they the answer?
Volunteers have 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 climate Historical importance
Recruiting and retaining in tough times • Don't start a volunteer program to deal with a crisis. • Keep your volunteer coordinator. • Understand how hard times affect volunteers.
Basic types of volunteers • Episodic • Family • Student • Faith-based • Boomer/Senior • Corporate/Young Professional • Skilled How can you help meet their new expectations as volunteers?
Time and money • Substituting skills for money is commonplace. • Does your development team recognize this pattern? • Do they make sure that the invitation to donate time as a volunteer is extended alongside the plea for a cash contribution? • Volunteering expenses comes from personal discretionary funds. • Consider reimbursing volunteers for some out-of-pocket expenses.
Recruiting and retaining cont. 4. Include current volunteers in planning for uncertain budgets. • What might we do to raise money from new sources? • What do you see that needs to be done here? What skills do you have that we’ve not yet asked you to use on our behalf? • If we were to recruit new volunteers, what things should we ask them to do, and what sorts of qualifications should we seek? • What can someone do as a short-term project, through online service, or in another less traditional way? • Where should we look for new volunteers? Can you help us with recruitment?
Recruiting and retaining cont. 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.
Recruiting and retaining cont. 6. Address unemployment directly by offering résumé building volunteer opportunities. • Do you offer volunteer positions that allow someone to learn a new skill or apply expertise in new ways? • Are you willing to write letters of recommendation for a successful volunteer? 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.
Recruiting and retaining cont. 7. Consider bartering as a form of volunteering. • The value of the exchange is in the eyes of the parties involved. • Adapt this natural barter process to organizational or client needs. • What does your organization have that a prospective volunteer might value? 8. It's as important to feed the soul as the belly. • Why not recruit volunteers to raise the spirits of staff and clients in need?
Review steps to ensure a strong volunteer program
Maintain the volunteer manager position. 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
Implications and Next Steps Can service get us through this mess?
Reliance on volunteers now “Volunteer work is enormous in scale, essential to the welfare of nations, a source of great social contributions…” -International Labour Organization
Reliance on volunteers now "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)
Reliance on volunteers now • 1.6 million U.S. nonprofits (Kelly 2002) • receive 15.5 billion volunteer hours (Norton 2001)
Considerations • The youth unemployment rate (ages 16-19) is now more than 20%. • 2 out of 3 people who want to serve in AmeriCorps are being turned away. • A call to service is a viable way to channel energy of youth motivated to elect Obama. • For 1% of the proposed stimulus, about $7 billion, Obama could create 8% of the 3 million new jobs promised. • 250,000 new national service slots would fulfill pledge to young supporters.
Considerations “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
Considerations • Service jobs can be established quickly. • AmeriCorps jobs are much less expensive than those in construction. (~ $20,000 each) Each year, 75,000 full-time AmeriCorps members leverage another 1.7 million volunteers!!!
Resources • Don’t Muffle the Call to Serve: From FDR to Bill Clinton's AmeriCorps, Leadership in service has always come from the president by Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, Published Jan. 3, 2009 • Is Obama Missing the National Service Moment? by Steven Waldman, Huffington Post, Jan. 7, 2009
Articles • "How Charities Cope With a Troubled Economy,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 2008 • "It May Be Hard Times: How to Navigate a Financial Downturn" [PDF], The Nonprofit Quarterly, 2008 • "Local Nonprofits Offer Insight on the Unfolding Financial Crisis" Massnonprofit.org • "Opportunities in Lean Times,” Fieldstone Alliance • "Tips for NGOs Threatened by the Financial Crisis,” PhilanTopic • "When Times Are Tough, Get Creative and Strategic" Adapted from the book Coping with Cutbacks (see below), by Emile Angelica and Vincent Hyman
Websites • Managing in Hard Timeshttp://www.icl.org/toolkits/hard-times/ Institute for Conservation Leadership • Nonprofit Economic Vitality Centerhttp://www.councilofnonprofits.org/economyNational Council of Nonprofits
Books • Coping with Cutbacks: The Nonprofit Guide to Success When Times Are Tight by Emile Angelica and Vincent Hyman, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 1997 • Wise Decision-Making in Uncertain Times: Using Nonprofit Resources Effectively, Edited by Dennis R. Young, Foundation Center, 2006
For More Information The Resource Centerwww.nationalservice.gov/resources Volunteering in Americawww.volunteeringinamerica.gov HandsOn Networkwww.email@example.com For recordings of this webinar: Part 1 (1/22/09) download or stream Part 2 (2/5/09) download or stream