The Obvious Reason Volunteering is at a 10-Year Low

Editor’s Note: There’s been a lot of hoopla lately about a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the volunteer rate in the U.S. to be lower than it’s been in a decade. With our 16-year relationship with the nonprofit, corporate and volunteering sectors, VolunteerMatch is in a unique position to clearly view what’s really going on. To help everyone understand this phenomenon better, VolunteerMatch president Greg Baldwin published this post on LinkedIn.

The Obvious Reason Volunteering is at a 10-Year Low

It is National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate the irrepressible spirit of goodwill, generosity and hustle that is as much a part of American culture as the 4th of July, Mount Rushmore and our aversion to the metric system.

It is a time to be reminded that America is the place where we celebrate our freedom to come together to get things done, to fight injustice and to invest in our future. It is also a good time to point out that in 2013 volunteering hit a 10-year low, and try to explain how it is that so few people seem to understand why.

Click here to read the rest of Greg’s article and discover the obvious explanation for this recent volunteering trend…

Expert Snapshots for March

Expert SnapshotsAt VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the field of volunteer engagement and management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Check back every month for snapshots of what experts in the field are talking about.

Putting Strategic Engagement at the Core

Beth Steinhorn of JFFixler Group introduces us to the new Strategic Volunteer Engagement Track making its debut at the Conference on Volunteering and Service this year. This development places volunteer engagement at the core of the conference, and with experts like Beth and our own Jennifer Bennett contributing, it’s bound to be enlightening and valuable.

A Better Board Will Make You Better

Most nonprofit boards are ineffective, state Kim Jonker and William F. Meehan III right at the beginning of their SSIR article. If you agree (and also if you don’t, actually,) read their post for comprehensive strategies to make your board a bigger and better influence for your organization. (And for more about nonprofit board engagement, check out our upcoming Nonprofit Insights webinar, “Building a Future-Friendly Nonprofit Board.”)

It’s Red Cross Month

Each year, the president of the United States proclaims March “Red Cross Month.” With stats like “every nine minutes, the American Red Cross brings help and hope to people in need,” it’s easy to understand why. Check out how the Red Cross is engaging people to get involved – and perhaps get some ideas for how your own organization can expand engagement.

5 Nonprofits that Newsjacked Facebook During the Oscars

This one’s mainly just for fun. Still, “newsjacking” – art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story – can be very effective for nonprofits. Here are some examples of Oscars newsjacking that Facebook marketing expert John Haydon called out on his blog.

Expert Snapshots for February

Expert SnapshotsAt VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the field of volunteer engagement and management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Check back every month for snapshots of what experts in the field are talking about.

World’s Best Intern: Advice from Nonprofits to Interns

Beth Kanter reflects on the challenges and opportunities of being an intern, as well as providing advice from some of her nonprofit colleagues who have managed interns in all areas (including yours truly!) Read the post to learn some great lessons for not only interns, but also those training and supervising them.

Web 3.0 Means Mobile Volunteering

Volunteer engagement guru and self-proclaimed social media geek Nicolette Winner points out the rapid pace of technological change, and how it’s causing us all to adapt to new lifestyles (how did we live without smartphones??) Now nonprofits must adapt, as well, and tailor our volunteer engagement strategies to the new “Web 3.0″ world.

It’s Time to Discuss the Complex Relationship of Volunteering and Money

For her “Hot Topics” column, Susan Ellis of Energize, Inc. highlights the mistaken belief that volunteering and money are always separate – in fact they are inextricably linked. Not only does volunteer engagement cost the organization, but there are costs incurred by volunteers themselves, as well. Susan delineates what those costs might be for specific types of volunteers, and how organizations can account for them in our engagement strategies.

First Do No Harm

In this post on her inspiring and intelligent blog “Volunteer Plain Talk,” Meridian Swift tells the story of a volunteer coordinator who had to make a tough decision while screening a potential volunteer – because after all, the community and clients of the organization have to come first…

Expert Snapshots for January

Expert SnapshotsAt VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the field of volunteer engagement and management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Check back every month for snapshots of what experts in the field are talking about.

What Nonprofits Should Start Doing in 2014: Advice from the Experts

The Chronicle of Philanthropy asked nonprofit leaders what nonprofits should start focusing on in the coming year – you might be surprised what some of these well-known folks had to say about fundraising, engagement and measurement…

Nonprofit Blog Carnival: A Flying Leap in 2014

The theme of this month’s Carnival, hosted by Joanne Fritz, is “The Nonprofit Ride in 2014 – Scary or Fun?” A wide range of people from across the sector contributed an assortment of predictions, reviews of 2013, and best practices for the New Year. This is the ultimate round-up of round-ups.

Four Volunteer Predictions for 2014

Corbit Harrison of VolunteerHub wrote this guest post on the Guidestar Blog looking at how technology and demographic shifts are changing how nonprofits engage volunteers. In the post he outlines some of these changes and suggests ways nonprofits can get ahead of them to be even more successful in 2014.

8 Social Media Predictions for Nonprofits in 2014

When it comes to humanitarian work, 2014 has big things in store for nonprofits, or so says Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation blog. She feels that social media will play an even more critical and central role in nonprofit operations in 2014, and provides a bunch of predictions for the “how.”

Bonus: When You Work With Volunteers

This Tumblr blog about volunteer management at nonprofits is funny and too true on any day of the week, but this recent post highlights the free education and training resources from VolunteerMatch, and we couldn’t be prouder.

Expert Snapshots for December

Expert SnapshotsAt VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the field of volunteer engagement and management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Check back every month for snapshots of what experts in the field are talking about.

Farewell, Nelson Mandela

VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin reflects on the lessons and inspiration of Nelson’s Mandela’s life. As we all say goodbye to a figure who often seemed larger than life, one thing is certain – he has contributed more than we could ever express to the world of service and volunteerism. You will be missed, Mr. Mandela.

Nonprofits Use “Speed Dating” Model to Recruit Volunteers”

Fifteen nonprofits in the Sacramento area collaborated to hold a “Speed Matching” event for individuals looking to volunteer in the community, based on the classic “speed dating” or “speed networking” model. Click through to read about how the event went and how other organizations might apply this new model…

Investing in High Impact Volunteer Engagement: A Funder’s Perspective

Jane Leighty Justis, executive director of The Leighty Foundation, writes on the Reimagining Service blog about the need for funders to help nonprofits build up their volunteer resources. After all, in today’s tough economic climate, the best chance nonprofits have is to make the most of the volunteers who want to help.

Don’t Let the History Made by Volunteers Fall Through the Cracks of Time

WhIn one of Susan Ellis’ recent “Hot Topics” posts for Energize, Inc., she urges nonprofits to document the contribution of volunteers to their causes and organizations. It’s critical for us to have records, both visual and textual, of the difference volunteers make in our society, or this important influence will be lost forever. Susan also shares some great ideas for how organizations can do this.