volunteerism research

6 Emerging Volunteerism Research Insights for 2019

Current volunteerism research data is hard to come by. The NCVO’s UK-based Time Well Spent study and the Corporation for National and Community Service’s US-based Volunteering in America report are notable recent examples of data specifically about the volunteer experience.

Verified Volunteers has also contributed to this body of knowledge through their recent report The Volunteer Perspective – Industry Insights 2019.

Each year, Verified Volunteers conducts volunteerism research in collaboration with a partner. In 2019, they teamed up with VolunteerMatch to better understand the perspectives of volunteers on screening, training, recruiting, retention, and more. It’s an informative read and bucks some of the conventional thinking about volunteer preferences and motivations.

The survey was conducted between September – October 2018, and 7,215 responded. Most (78%) were female and represented a broad range of age groups. Four out of five (84%) volunteer at least a few times a year. Most (75%) serve at more than one organization. Most (56%) serve in suburban environments, but urban (35%) and rural (9%) volunteers are also represented in the findings.


6 Key Takeaways From New Volunteerism Research

1. Altruism is the top motivation for volunteers — They want to contribute to causes they care about and improve their communities over enjoying personal benefit.

2. Volunteers prefer intrinsic over extrinsic rewards — They would rather have their work recognized with special opportunities and personal notes over gifts (extrinsic rewards).

3. Background checks are uncontroversial for volunteers — The vast majority of volunteers view background checks as having a positive or neutral effect on their experience and are not worried about them as long as their personal info is secure.

4. Volunteers want to hear from nonprofits — They would like organizations to proactively reach out to them with opportunities instead of asking them to search on their own.

5. Impact is important to volunteers — Making a real difference and understanding their impact is what keeps them coming back.

6. Human connection is also important to volunteers — Building relationships within the community and networking with peers is also a key driver of volunteer satisfaction and retention.

Get All the Stats!

Head over to Verified Volunteers and grab your free copy of this 20-page report!