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MAVA's Groundbreaking Study

Karmit Bulman

At MAVA’s annual meeting on December 6th, you will have the opportunity to be the first to learn about the findings of MAVA’s new study. This study examines how nonprofit CEOs recruit, support, and resource four key staff positions within their organization, including volunteer engagement professionals. On December 6th, we will share findings that compare the recruitment of volunteer engagement professionals to the three other key positions and will explore strategies to cultivate strong CEO volunteer engagement champions.

Here is a sneak peek at some of our findings: 464 CEOs responded to a 22 question survey. Organizations who responded were in the education, elder, healthcare, housing, human services, civil rights, faith-based, legal and youth fields. The largest group represented the education and human services fields. Most respondents were from large urban areas; some were from small urban and large suburban areas. The largest group of respondents were from the Midwest region but all regions were represented. The number of employees in the organizations ranged from under 5 to over 1000. The largest number of volunteers in organizations were over 1000, but organizations had anywhere from under 5 to over 1000 volunteers. Budget sizes varied from under $250,000 (largest group) to over 8 million (second largest group).

76% of respondents have a designated volunteer engagement professional and a program director. 54% have a human resources professional and 60% have a development/fundraising professional. Overall, the highest ranking staff person in each organization tended to be at the organization under 6 years. MAVA is currently conducting interviews with about 50 nonprofit CEOs. We are interested in learning more from these CEOs about some contradictions in the responses survey. The surveys highlighted that CEOs feel that volunteer engagement professional(s) do an excellent job and volunteer programs are very valuable to organizations. At the same time, the CEO responses indicated that it is appropriate to pay volunteer engagement leaders less, have very limited volunteer budgets, layoff volunteer engagement leaders first, keep them off executive leadership teams and keep volunteerism out of strategic planning.

We are looking forward to gaining input into how we can address contradictions found in responses to this survey. We hope MAVA members will attend the annual meeting along with their supervisors and CEOs and help us analyze our findings and continue our journey in elevating the volunteer engagement leadership field.