A Time to be Bold: Engaging Volunteers in a Shifting Environment


Status of Minnesota Volunteer Programs in a Shifting Environment 2014

Status of Minnesota Volunteer Programs in a Shifting Environment 2013

      Click here to read the 2013 executive summary

      Click here to read the full 2013 survey report

 As Minnesota moves to a “new normal” for nonprofits and governmental organizations, the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) conducted a follow-up study to our 2009 and 2010 reports on the status of volunteerism and volunteer programs during changing economic times. In early 2013, 320 leaders of volunteers and nonprofit managers across the state responded to a survey. Several themes emerged in the findings:

  • The #1 trend in volunteer availability is volunteers interest in shorter term volunteering.
  • Volunteers have real impact in tight financial times. 22% of organizations reported volunteers helped preserve organizational services.
  • Reliance on volunteers increased with 49% of organization reporting volunteer hours have increased com­pared to a year ago.
  • The surge in people inquiring about volunteering following the recession is tapering off . The portion of potential new volunteer inquiring that were job seekers dropped to 37% from 66% in 2010.
  • Interest in collaborating with external organizations is high with 46% reporting the volunteer program’s involvement in collaborative activities with outside partners.
  • Volunteerism practices are being updated for changing volunteer expectations and organizational needs with 65% of organizations involving volunteers in new roles and positions in the organization and 46% involving volunteers in leadership positions.
    Respondents shared hundreds of strategies for volunteer programs to respond to the current times. The goal of the survey is to help leaders of volunteers capitalize on their organization’s volunteer resources by seeing how their experiences in the changing times compare to overall trends and to share strategies for responding to changes.


2011 and 2009 Reports on the Status of Minnesota Volunteer Programs in a Shifting Environment

Click here to read the 2011 executive summary.

Click here to read the full 2011 survey results.

Click here for 2009 survey results.

It is not business as usual. To address these unprecedented times, MAVA seeks to provide resources to help leaders of volunteers better understand what is changing and learn strategies to address the changes.

In the News!

MAVA Featured on MPR's Midmorning program on Volunteerism, December 23, 2010. "Volunteer Nation"

Results of Shifting Environment Survey featured on Minnesota Public Radio, December 4, 2009. "Nonprofits See Uptick in Volunteers During Down Economy," click here to listen to the broadcast or read the article!

Featured in the West Central Tribune for "Time to Be Bold" workshop in Willmar.

Featured in Minneapolis Star Tribune on November 9, 2009, "Volunteer to Find Careers"

Survey release featured in Energize Inc's  December update as "Hard facts- No Whining - Solid Ideas."

Pioneer Press quotes initial survey results. 


Power Points and Handouts from A Time to Be Bold: 12/4/09

Handouts: Engaging Volunteers in a Shifting Environment

Panel Presentations:

Decision Making Matrix for Evaluating New Opportunities
Polly Roach, Vice President- Strategic Services, Mentoring Partnership of MN

Notes from 12/4 Symposium


Thank you to the Otto Bremer Foundation, the St. Paul Foundation and the Initiative Foundation for funding, in part, the efforts to bring these resources to leaders of volunteers in Minnesota.