Research & Reports

New Report on What Motivates People to Volunteer, Stay Engaged

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More than three-quarters of volunteers report that understanding the impact they have on the organization and the cause is what keeps them engaged and coming back to help out, according to a recent survey of 7,000 volunteers across the United States.

The Volunteer Perspective—Industry Insights 2019 was prepared by Verified Volunteers, which surveyed over 7,000 VolunteerMatch volunteers to help charities build stronger volunteer programs.

Verified Volunteers—the dedicated service sector unit of Sterling, the global leader in background and identity services—partnered with VolunteerMatch, the web’s largest volunteer engagement network, to develop the research that highlights the latest trends among individuals who regularly participate in local volunteer efforts.

“By understanding volunteers and the emotional tie to their chosen cause, we can develop solutions to support them,” said Katie Zwetzig, executive director of Verified Volunteers. “We look forward to implementing this insight to enhance the volunteer experience for both individuals and communities across the U.S.”

“You can't lead a great volunteering program without first knowing who your volunteers are,” added Greg Baldwin, VolunteerMatch CEO. “The results from this study offer a first-hand glimpse into what inspires individuals throughout the country to give their time. We are proud to help those managing volunteer programs of all sizes better understand what truly motivates their volunteers.”

Key takeaways from the 2019 report include:

  • 83% of survey respondents volunteer to contribute to a cause they care about, 66% to improve their community, and 63% to spend time doing something they are interested in
  • 78% of survey respondents say that understanding their impact keeps them engaged
  • 75% of survey respondents said that they volunteer at more than one organization
  • 58% of survey respondents who said they are very familiar with background checks also said that background checks strongly affect how they feel about volunteering in a positive way
  • Over 68% of survey respondents are interested in a digital credential that would prove who they are and one they could use to check into and out of an organization, track their hours, and record their training

More volunteers are now finding new opportunities online (57%) than through friends (44%), and volunteers increasingly prefer online training. Organizations must be prepared to develop the tools and resources volunteers are looking for.

Volunteers were also asked what they would want most in a new online volunteer community. The most popular ideas were:

  • Volunteer opportunity search
  • Ability to be recruited by organizations with opportunities
  • Networking with contacts at nonprofits/organizations
  • Networking with like-minded volunteers
  • Access to online courses related to volunteering
  • Ability to track volunteer hours

To learn more about The Volunteer Perspective—Industry Insights 2019 report—which offers valuable insight into how and why people volunteer throughout the U.S.—visit https://www.verifiedvolunteers.com/.

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