Are You Prepared for An Increase In Volunteers Due To The Unemployment Rate?

Volunteers keep the engines running at many non-profit organizations. But are new volunteers knocking on the door of your non-profit organization? A Reuters story published this week stated that rising unemployment may be sending more people to volunteer at non-profits.

“Some US jobless find hope and solace as volunteers,” documents anecdotal evidence that volunteerism is increasing with the unemployment rate. Here’s some key graphs:

  • “Anecdotal evidence indicates that some among the swelling ranks of the unemployed — the U.S. jobless rate hit a 16-year high of 7.6 percent and is expected to climb — are offering their services for free to nonprofits ranging from church-run food pantries to groups that assign mentors to children. But hard numbers are difficult to find.”
  • “On a local level, the impetus to volunteer may be more likely to come from someone asking than an urge from within. Half the 62 million Americans who volunteered last year said they did because they were asked to, according to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
  • ” ‘The rise in unemployment is unlikely to generate a surge in volunteerism, since those losing jobs are busy looking for work or going to school to learn new skills,’ said Leslie Lenkowsky, a Philanthropic Studies professor at Indiana University.”

Marketing/communications professionals might be wise to put together a strategy that will reach out to those between jobs. Volunteering can provide networking opportunities for the unemployed as well as lift their spirits when they help others.

And if they can’t volunteer as much or at all after they find employment, your organization probably gained an ambassador and a donor.


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