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Volunteers Still Not Being Used for Maximum Impact

(May 4, 2006) A new survey shows that a vast majority of nonprofit organizations are not taking full advantage of the professional skills and knowledge possessed by their volunteers.

The 2006 Deloitte/Points of Light Volunteers IMPACT Study, released by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP and the Points of Light Foundation, found that 77 percent of nonprofit leaders believe that skilled volunteers could improve their organization’s operations. However, just 19 percent of volunteers reported that they primarily apply their workplace skills in their volunteer assignments.

In addition, only 38 percent of nonprofit leaders indicated their organizations worked with companies that provided volunteers with such skills, and just 12 percent of nonprofits said they typically develop volunteer positions based on the workplace skill specific individuals have.

Of interest to many nonprofits may be the finding that 63 percent of volunteers felt that skills-based volunteering had a positive impact on their career. “People who use their workplace skills as volunteers are rewarded on many different levels,” said James H. Quigly, CEO of Deloitte & Touche, USA LLPO, in a press release about the study. “Often their volunteer experience gives people an opportunity to demonstrate and improve their abilities in a different context, which can spark creative problem solving that is directly applicable in the workplace.”

With the shift in demographics to an older population with more time and income, nonprofits need to consider placing more emphasis on developing volunteer opportunities that align with and take advantage of these volunteers and their professional skills and experience.

“With the continued growth of the charitable sector, there’s not only competition for the charitable dollar, but also competition for volunteers and board members,” said Paulette Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “A clear way to attract highly qualified and motivated volunteers and volunteer leaders is to take the time to create positions that address their skills and make them feel useful.”

About the Survey

The 2006 Deloitte / Points of Light Volunteer IMPACT Study was administered by Opinion Research Corporation. A U.S. representative sample of 750 white-collar workers who hold owner/manager or sales/clerical positions was asked eight aided and unaided questions in a CARAVAN® omnibus survey conducted March 2–6. Two subsequent, but independent, questions were asked of 755 white-collar workers March 23–27. Both surveys had margins of error of +/- 3.6 percent.

A U.S. representative sample of 200 nonprofit directors and managers were asked 10 different aided and unaided questions during an online survey conducted March 23–24. That survey had a margin of error of +/- 7.0 percent.

For more information about the survey, contact Fred Whiting, director, communications and media relations, at the Points of Light Foundation at

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP is the U.S. member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and services are provided by the subsidiaries of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP (Deloitte & Touche LLP, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, Deloitte Tax LLP and their subsidiaries), and not by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. The subsidiaries of the US member firm provide audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services through nearly 30,000 people in more than 80 cities.

The Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network in Washington, D.C., engages and mobilizes millions of volunteers who to help solve serious social problems in thousands of communities.

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