Another year begins and nonprofits like yours are now reevaluating recruiting strategy, planning community outreach for 2017, and thinking about ways to improve their volunteer programs. Are you? Blueprinting the year ahead for your organization requires a thorough understanding of trends and evolutions within the nonprofit sector. Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices Report: 2017, researched and produced by Verified Volunteers, offers essential insights on the practices, challenges and concerns of organizations that rely on dedicated volunteers. The survey, administered in May 2016, includes data from both Verified Volunteers clients and an external panel of relevant organizations, all of which conduct some form of background screening on their volunteers.
So in honor of the New Year, and to better prepare you, your organization and volunteers for an exciting year of change, we’ve selected five findings that will help you plan for improvements in your program, recruit volunteers, and continue to make an impact in the community you serve:
1. Volunteer Numbers Are Growing
Retiring Baby Boomers with time on their hands began to swell the volunteer market a decade or so ago. That fact, coupled with a new generation of socially conscious Millennials, has brought new emphasis to volunteerism in recent years. Although staffing is a perpetual challenge for nonprofits and helping organizations, the organizations that use volunteers are using more of them.
2. Training Programs for Volunteers Are on the Rise
As the range and complexity of volunteer opportunities increases, training becomes important to a wider range of volunteer positions. Formal training has benefits beyond the obvious; it establishes standards of competency; brands the organization as not only caring but capable; and quickly lets new volunteers know what will be required of them.
3. More Organizations Are Serving Vulnerable Populations
Vulnerable populations include the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, children from low-income families, the elderly, the homeless, the uninsured, and those with chronic health conditions, including severe mental illness.
4. Challenges in Volunteer Screening Are Changing
Despite the fact that organizations are spending more on individual volunteer background checks, such checks are not their biggest expense. Rather, staffing—recruiting and retaining qualified staff in an economy in which there is a “war for talent”—has replaced background screening as the most costly item for most organizations.
5. More Organizations Expect to do More Volunteer Background Checks
More than ever, organizations that serve the public, and especially a vulnerable public, want to know and have confidence in their volunteers. In most cases, none are decreasing the number of checks they perform, and far fewer organizations are “staying the same” in terms of checks.
Ready for more findings that will better prepare your organization and improve the invaluable services you provide to the community this year? You can download the full Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices Report: 2017 here.