The Impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 has significantly impacted volunteerism across the country and around the world. Strategic volunteer engagement is critical to the response to and recovery from this crisis (read our statement).
- According to Fidelity Charitable’s August 2020 report, The Role of Volunteering in Philanthropy, two-thirds (2/3) of donors said they have decreased the amount of time they volunteer or stopped entirely due to the pandemic.
- VolunteerMatch found that while volunteer cancellations decreased to 48% in July 2020, down from 68% in March 2020, cancellation numbers remained unacceptably high for volunteerism to be leveraged for critical operations. Encouragingly, organizations engaging volunteers reported a 9% increase in volunteer turnout by July 2020— a notable increase from only 3% in March 2020. Volunteers most likely feel the urgency to be of service, growing accustomed, once again, to a “new normal”, and are slowly growing more willing to be of support to their communities through service.
In good times and bad, research demonstrates a strong connection between organizations that operate with volunteer engagement as a core strategy for mission accomplishment and the overall health and effectiveness of the organization. Take for example:
- Organizations that fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills to accomplish their missions are significantly more adaptable, sustainable, and capable of going to scale. (Source: TCC Group, Positive Deviants’ in Volunteerism and Service: Research summary)
- Organizations that effectively engage volunteers are equally successful in accomplishing their mission as their peers without volunteers, but at almost half the median budget. (Source: TCC Group, Positive Deviants’ in Volunteerism and Service: Research summary)
- Effective volunteer engagement has been shown in some cases to reap up to a $6 return on every dollar invested when considering the financial value of volunteer involvement. (Source: Points of Light Blog, Where Should Nonprofits Use Volunteers? Everywhere.)
- 53% of volunteers say they give money to an organization before volunteering. However, 39% say they’re more likely to volunteer first. For a significant subset of donors, volunteering can be an important way of evaluating an organization for future financial support. (Source: The Role of Volunteering in Philanthropy, Fidelity Charitable 2020 report)
- High net worth donors who volunteer give up to ten times more money than those who don’t, and most donate to the organizations in which they are involved. (Source: Fidelity Charitable, Fidelity®Charitable Gift Fund Volunteerism and Charitable Giving in 2009 Executive Summary)