Four Barriers to Volunteering and How to Remove Them
Posted Thursday, June 5th, 2014 by Verified Volunteers Staff
According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, one in four Americans (26.5%) volunteered their time to give back to their community in 2012. However, a news release published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the volunteer rate dropped in 2013; in fact, it was the lowest it has been since they began keeping record in 2002. This is a cause for concern for nonprofit organizations. It also begs the question: what specifically prevents people from volunteering and what can organizations do to move past these barriers?
Four Barriers to Volunteering
We’ve discussed volunteer retention mistakes in the past, but what can nonprofit organizations do to encourage community members to begin volunteering in the first place? Anticipating issues or concerns that may arise for potential volunteers is a starting point.
Below are four common barriers to volunteering that organizations should consider when developing their volunteer programs, as well as ways to remove or move past them.
1. Their schedules are packed…
For many people, the idea of spending another hour or two working after a long day at the office can be too daunting to consider, especially with so many other demands on their time. Students also have hectic schedules, often balancing classwork with part-time jobs and extracurricular activities or sports.
To accommodate busy schedules, allow flexibility in how many hours or service events volunteers have to do for your organization, and offer events at a variety of times and days of the week.
2. …and when managing those packed schedules, family time comes first.
Many individuals might want to volunteer, but also have to balance service with family time. Hectic schedules and already-long days can make parents hesitant to spend even more time away from their spouse or children. You can remove this barrier by creating opportunities for families to volunteer together, which benefits both the organization and families.
3. They don’t feel connected to the cause.
While they may agree that the work your organization is doing is important, people who don’t feel a connection to your organization or cause may not feel motivated to donate their time and energy. Make sure potential volunteers know what sort of roles they will play, and how their service can help your organization move toward achieving its goals.
You can also create volunteer roles or positions based around skills and interests so volunteers feel more engaged with the work they’re doing.
4. The vetting and onboarding process is a hassle – and takes too long.
Individuals often want to volunteer on a whim. They happen to have a Saturday free, and they want to spend it doing some good in their community. But, thanks to the lengthy vetting and onboarding processes required by many organizations, this can prove impossible. Organizations can ensure they are working with trustworthy individuals by using Verified Volunteers as their volunteer screening vendor. The platform offers quality screens in a matter of hours or days. Plus, with the Volunteer Fast-Pass, volunteers own their own background checks and can share them with other organizations on the platform. That means that, once a volunteer has been screened, they can sign up to volunteer with multiple organizations in a matter of minutes. They save time and frustration and are able to make an impact on the causes they care about.
By addressing these barriers to volunteering, you can help your organization bring in committed, passionate volunteers that will help you move closer to realizing your goals.
Our background screening platform is specifically tailored to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations and their volunteers. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter.Tom Klein founded Verified Volunteers and leads its mission to propel service organizations and nonprofits by empowering volunteers. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn or Google+.