Volunteers: Love Them or Leave Them
I have worked with hundreds of volunteers in my career. They come in all shapes and sizes. They also come with diversity of age, race, sex, religion and a variety of other factors.
You hope volunteers have a passion for your cause and a willingness to freely give their time, talent and treasure without reservations. No two volunteers are alike. Only with experience can a professional truly learn to maximize the positive experience for the volunteer and staff working with the volunteer. Each experience is never the same in duration, intensity and ultimate results.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 64.5 million adults, or 26.5 percent of the adult U.S. population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $175 billion dollars in 2012. Independent Sector notes that the value of volunteer time in 2013 was $22.55 per hour.
- 62.6 million people volunteered for an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013
- Volunteer rates declined by 1.1 percentage points to 25.4 percent for the year ending in September 2013
- 35- to 44-year-olds were the most likely to volunteer (30.6 percent of total)
- Whites volunteered at 27.1 percent and blacks at 18.5 percent
- Married people volunteered at 30.7 percent and those never married at 20 percent
- 39.8 percent of college graduates volunteered
- Most volunteers were only involved in one or two organizations
- The highest percentage of volunteers served religious organizations (33 percent), followed by education/youth (25.6 percent) and social service/community service (14.7 percent)
A key to volunteer success for your organization is how you motivate volunteers. Several authors highlight what they feel are motivation tools for volunteers. According to consultant Thomas McKee, providing on the job training, being available to assist volunteers and providing positive feedback is a must. He notes you need to “stimulate that inner motivation.”