Volunteer Management Capacity Study: Summary Results Mark A. Hager, Urban Institute email@example.com Jeffrey L. Brudney, University of Georgia firstname.lastname@example.org 2004 National Conference on Community Volunteering and National Service
Sponsors • Corporation for National and Community Service • UPS Foundation • USA Freedom Corps • Research conducted by the Urban Institute (Hager, PI)
Government Promotion of Volunteerism • 1989 Points of Light Foundation & awards • 1991 VOLUNTEER National Network • 1993 National and Community Service Trust Act • 1997 President’s Summit for America’s Future; Volunteer Protection Act • 2001 USA Freedom Corps; Citizen Corps • 2002 President’s “Call to Service”
Supply and Demand for Volunteers • Most efforts have focused on expanding the number and diversity of volunteers. • Research suggests that organizations do not always manage their volunteers well. • Observers question whether organizations have the capacity to properly accommodate more volunteers. • Apprehensions heightened by President’s Call to Service.
Impetus for Study of Volunteer Management • No systematic knowledge of extent of volunteer involvement in charities and congregations. • No systematic knowledge of the adoption of recommended practices in volunteer management. • No systematic knowledge of capability of organizations to accommodate additional volunteers.
Methodology • Data collected from organizational representatives by phone in Fall 2003 • Sampled charities from Form 990 filers • N=1,753 charities, 69% response rate • Sampled congregations from American Church Lists • N=541 congregations, 69% response rate
Our Definition of a Volunteer • Works on regular, short term, or occasional basis; • Provides services to charity or those charity serves; • Not paid as a staff member or a consultant; • Excludes members of board of directors -- unless they provide volunteer services to the charity beyond traditional governance duties; • Excludes special events participants -- unless they are volunteer planners or workers at these events.
Broad Scope of Volunteer Use • Four in five charities have volunteers. • More than half use volunteers primarily in direct service roles. • Four in five congregations have social service outreach activities. • About one in three congregations manage volunteers in these activities.
Low Investments in Volunteer Management • 3 in 5 charities (with volunteers) and 1 in 3 congregations (that manage volunteers in social service outreach activities) have a paid staff person responsible for management of volunteers. • The typical such staffer spends only 30 percent of time on volunteer management.
Challenges in Volunteer Management Percent of Charities
Key Findings About Challenges • Charities with recruiting challenges are more likely to try a range of recruiting methods, such as speaking before groups, Internet, printed materials, and special events. • The more time that paid staff member spends on volunteer management, the less likely the charity reports problems in recruiting.
Adoption of Management Practices Percent of Charities
Adoption Linked to Charities… • With larger budgets; • With greater scope of volunteer use; • That use volunteers primarily in direct service roles; • That operate in the health field; • With paid staff members who spend greater amounts of time on volunteer management.
Retention of Volunteers Associated With… • Recognition, training, and screening • Less supervision and communication • Funding, institutional support • Engaged, productive volunteers • Older volunteers
Benefits of Volunteers to Charities Percent of Charities
Investments and Benefits Feed Each Other • Adoption of management strategies and investment in paid staff coordinators linked to greater benefits from volunteers.
Taking on More Volunteers • 91% of charities and 96% of congregations said they could currently take on at least some additional volunteers at current capacity. • The typical organization says that it currently can take on 20 new volunteers. • The more time that paid staff members spend on volunteer management, the more new volunteers charities say they can accommodate.
Congregations and Religious Charities • Spring and Grimm, CNCS • Most congregations operate social service out-reach activities, but few do so on their own. • Congregations tend to utilize volunteers to manage other volunteers. • Charities with a religious mission more likely to have a paid coordinator than charities with a secular mission. • The majority of charities with a secular mission do not have partnerships with religious organizations.
A Few Conclusions • A broad array of charities and congregations engage volunteers on a broad array of tasks. • Volunteer management practices have not made universal inroads; nonetheless, prevailing reported level of problems in managing volunteers is low. • Investments in volunteer management returns benefits, including retention of volunteers. • Future work should focus on characteristics and practices of volunteer managers and organizational supports.
Contacts Reports and other study details available at www.volunteerinput.org. Mark A. Hager, Ph.D. Senior Research Associate Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy The Urban Institute 2100 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20037 Phone: (202) 261-5345 Fax: (202) 833-6231 Jeffrey L. Brudney, Ph.D. University of Georgia School of Public and Int’l Affairs Dept. of Public Admin. and Policy 104 Baldwin Hall Athens, GA 30602-1615 Phone: (706) 542-2977 Fax: (706) 583-0610