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Volunteers are an essential resource for a sustainable nonprofit community. For many charities, a steady supply of individuals willing to give their most valuable resource—time—is critical for their basic operations. This report illustrates how donors support charitable causes with both their time and money—and how the COVID-19 crisis has sharply impacted how volunteers are able to serve.
Volunteers donate their time in a variety of ways to help their favorite organizations fulfill their charitable missions.
of recent volunteers spend 10 hours or less volunteering each month, while 13% devote more than 20 hours monthly.
of volunteers spend time lending a hand to their favorite charities, performing activities like serving meals in a soup kitchen or participating in a neighborhood clean-up.
The overlap between financial and volunteer support indicates that many donors are deeply invested in making an impact on the causes they care most about. Meaningful volunteer opportunities can build bonds that strengthen and enrich the donor-nonprofit relationship.
of charitable donors are also recent volunteers, indicating active and enthusiastic involvement in the causes they care most about.
of volunteers support a nonprofit by volunteering before they make financial donations. For these donors, volunteerism may be a way of evaluating a charity for future financial support.
of Millennials say they give more to the nonprofit they volunteer with than they would if they didn’t volunteer—compared to only 21% of Gen X and 12% of Boomers.
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased demand for many nonprofits’ services, while sharply diminishing their volunteer workforce and changing the ways that any remaining volunteers are able to serve.
of volunteers have decreased the amount of time they volunteer or stopped entirely due to the pandemic.
of those who have continued volunteering during the pandemic have engaged in mostly virtual or remote volunteer activities. Before the pandemic, only 19% of volunteers did their work virtually.
of donors don’t know where they would go to find virtual volunteer opportunities.
“Needs don’t go away just because a virus is out there—they multiply. To have [volunteers] keep showing up is affirmation to me of who we are as an organization, and who we are as a people. For me, it’s a miracle.”
Executive Director, Sister Jose Women’s Center
“We wouldn’t be able to do this without our volunteers. They’re the heart of our program.”
Development Manager, USANA Kids Eat
Salt Lake City, Utah
“We didn’t hesitate for a second [about continuing to volunteer] when the pandemic status was announced. It’s the right thing to do.”
“[The pandemic] is a big reminder of how much need there is out there in the world. Those of us who are able to give financially and of our time need to carry on and keep doing it however we can.”
Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that offers one of the nation's largest donor-advised fund programs, making charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective.
Learn more about safely volunteering, advocating and increasing your support to help all nonprofits during the COVID-19 crisis.
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