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MAVA's 2018 Volunteer Trends Research Results

Mary Quirk

MAVA's 2018 Volunteer Trends Research Results

By Mary Quirk
Executive Director of Living at Home Network and MAVA Volunteer

After a decade of wild fluctuations of the top trends in volunteerism, the MAVA 2018 Volunteer Trends Survey found a relative stabilization in the volunteerism trends. Three of the top trends found in MAVA’s 2014 study remained top trends in the 2018 study: interest in short term volunteering, volunteering on evenings/weekends and developing or utilizing workplace skills. Volunteers seeming busy emerged as another top trend with 48% of organizations reporting seeing this increase over the past year.

Organizations reported that there were fewer inquiries from the Traditional generation for volunteering but inquires from other generations of volunteers are growing. The generation where the largest number of organizations were seeing an increase was with Boomers. Inquires by groups about volunteering also continue to increase. A trend of high concern was older volunteers aging out and being hard to replace.

The survey addressed the question: Is volunteerism up or down? The results indicate that inquiries from volunteers seemed stable or increasing overall but the majority of organizations were at least somewhat short on volunteers to meet needs.

The survey results indicated some intriguing emerging trends to watch:
• Virtual volunteering
• Interest in politically motivated volunteering
• Interest in volunteering by students shows good potential for Generation Z as it enters the volunteer workforce
• Regulations and requirements are increasing and causing difficulties
• Rapid change in the use of technology in volunteerism

Volunteer managers are proactively developing and implementing strategies to address the complex changes in volunteerism. Over a hundred strategies were shared.

Although the trends are stabilizing some, it not a time to get complacent as we still have a lot to do to address the trends of volunteers seeking shorter term, more flexible and skill based opportunities and we are seeing some emerging trends that will require new innovations. Read the Preliminary Report for more details. Thank you to the 239 leaders of volunteers who responded to the survey.

What volunteers are seeking
• 47% seeing increased interest in short term volunteering
• 35% seeing increased interest in volunteering on evenings and weekends
• 30% seeing increased interest in using workplace skills

Who is volunteering
• 35% seeing more inquires from Boomers
• 31% seeing more inquires from high school and college students
• 31% seeing more inquires from Millennials
• 27% seeing less inquires from Traditional generation
• 21% seeing more inquires from Gen X

Other trends
• 48% seeing increase in volunteers seeming busy
• 45% seeing increase in older volunteers aging out and hard to replace
• 35% seeing increase in regulations/requirement related to volunteering