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Volunteer Management Capacity Study: Summary Results


Volunteer Management Capacity Study: Summary Results Mark A. Hager, Urban Institute mhager_at_ui.urban.org Jeffrey L. Brudney, University of Georgia – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Volunteer Management Capacity Study: Summary Results

Volunteer Management Capacity Study Summary
Mark A. Hager, Urban Institute
mhager_at_ui.urban.org Jeffrey L. Brudney,
University of Georgia
2004 National Conference on Community
Volunteering and National Service
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • UPS Foundation
  • USA Freedom Corps
  • Research conducted by the Urban Institute (Hager,

Government Promotion of Volunteerism
  • 1989 Points of Light Foundation awards
  • 1991 VOLUNTEER National Network
  • 1993 National and Community Service Trust Act
  • 1997 Presidents Summit for Americas Future
    Volunteer Protection Act
  • 2001 USA Freedom Corps Citizen Corps
  • 2002 Presidents 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 Presidents Call to

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

  • Data collected from organizational
    representatives by phone in Fall 2003
  • Sampled charities from Form 990 filers
  • N1,753 charities, 69 response rate
  • Sampled congregations from American Church Lists
  • N541 congregations, 69 response rate

Our Definition of a Volunteer
  • Works on regular, short term, or occasional
  • Provides services to charity or those charity
  • 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

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
  • 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

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.

  • Reports and other study details available at

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 Intl Affairs Dept.
of Public Admin. and Policy 104 Baldwin
Hall Athens, GA 30602-1615 Phone (706)
542-2977 Fax (706) 583-0610
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