With the nonprofit sector being the third largest industry in the United States, it is imperative to support agencies as they advance charitable causes and defend or prevent distress to vulnerable populations. While there is an increased reliance on nonprofits to promote social justice and limit crisis-situations, ensuring sustainability of these organizations is often neglected. That coupled with volunteering rates being the lowest since 2002 suggest a need to find novel ways to support these organizations. By mobilizing the skills, experience, education, and talents of volunteers, nonprofits can achieve their missions more successfully by realigning the motivations to serve with professional development.
Skills-based volunteering (SBV) is an innovative approach that capitalizes on an individual's education and experiences to help nonprofit organizations build and sustain their capacity. By leveraging the special skills and talents of individuals to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofit agencies, volunteers can help them achieve their missions through strategic initiatives. Although the average value of a volunteer in 2019 rose by 3% to $25.43 in the United States – the average value of a volunteer in Nebraska in 2019 is estimated at $24.01. Yet skills-based volunteers, who average more than double the amount of hours served, are valued at a rate 7x higher, which in Nebraska equates to $168.
Not only do nonprofits get more from using highly skilled volunteers that perform highly skilled functions, but these volunteers are also more likely to offer their services again as the experience aligns with motivations for service beyond altruism, for instance, professional development. In fact, SBV can serve as a pathway to employment; of those looking for a job are 27% more likely to land one when they are involved in SBV.
Skilled volunteers can help nonprofits do more with less by working on a wide variety of projects at no cost while learning valuable skills that position them for future success. SBV is strategic volunteerism that expands the impact of both the volunteer and the nonprofit by strengthening the operations and services of the organization.
Interested in skills-based volunteerism? Join ThriVinci at an orientation session.
Drop-in at the UNO Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center Room 221 to learn what projects are available on June 26th , September 4th, or October 30th. Plus, a member of the ThriVinci team will be available for on-the-spot orientation and training. Can't make it but still interested in working on a project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.