Archive for August, 2011

Corporate Giving Slow to Recover in Weak Economy

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

volunteerscreeningblog.comCharitable giving will probably remain flat in 2011, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy survey of 180 businesses. After 2010’s 13% increase in cash donations, businesses are not expected to maintain the increases. Some see a possible increase in product donations, which when added to 2010’s total, increased giving by nearly 20%.

Out of the 107 Fortune 500 companies surveyed, 74 said they expected 2011’s giving to remain about the same as 2010’s, while 27 expected an increase and six expect a decrease.

The head of the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals, a group that represents company grant makers, said that companies are just holding steady and it will take until at least 2013 before companies give like they did prior to the recession’s start at the end of 2007.

Other findings in the survey include:

  • Cash donations totaled $4.9 billion in 2010.
  • Wal-Mart gave the most cash of any company in the survey, at $319.5 million. Wal-Mart also pledges food and other gifts, with a $1.75 billion commitment to food banks and other organizations that provide the poor with groceries.
  • Goldman Sachs and Citigroup posted increases as their corporate profits soared. Goldman Sachs giving increased 353% to $315.4 million, and Citigroup gave more than $100 million in cash.
  • When combining cash and products, Pfizer topped the list with $3 billion, followed by Oracle at $2.3 billion and Merck at $1.2 billion.
  • Businesses are receiving more requests for basic help, as with utility bills, from non-profits. The president of the Wells Fargo Foundation called this “a very big shift.” Prior to the recession, he said, charities sought strategic, long-term grants. Keeping up with requests will be a stretch in 2011, he suggested, after Wells Fargo’s giving increased by 8.5% in 2010.

Many corporate grant makers say the economy is changing how and what they give, and causing them to focus their charitable dollars more, by focusing on non profits that better match their business objectives, and offering more skills and products as cash becomes tighter.

Count on for your volunteer prescreening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with volunteer background checks.

ADA Rules For Volunteer Agencies

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

While the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) has been in place for more than 20 years, many non-profit agencies think it does not apply to them, or are confused about which aspects of the law do.

Here are some facts about the ADA:

  • The ADA gives rights of equal access to places of public accommodation, including non-profit organizations.
  • Places of public accommodation must give persons with disabilities equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from their services.
  • Small employers are not subject to ADA. This includes those with fewer than 15 employees.
  • Employers with 15 or more employees may not ask whether a person is disabled when interviewing for a position, and must make reasonable accommodations for a worker’s disability.
  • Making accommodations can be as simple as providing a foot stool to a volunteer with a disability, allowing a volunteer with lupus to take rest breaks or changing the orientation of a desk to accommodate a wheelchair.
  • Temporary conditions, such as broken limbs or illnesses, are not covered under the ADA.
  • You may choose a non-disabled volunteer over a disabled volunteer, according to qualifications.

About 20% of the U.S. population is disabled, and if you have not yet welcomed volunteers with disabilities into your agency, you may be missing out on a wealth of talent and skill.

6 Tips for Volunteer Retention

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

volunteerscreeningblogFor many non profit organizations, volunteer retention is a major challenge. Professional volunteer managers know that every volunteer needs something different from their volunteer experience.

Here are six ways to enhance the experience for your volunteers, and help them stick around as long as you need them:

  1. Give the big picture: While the day-to-day tasks are important (someone needs to update the donor database), keep the focus on the long-term. The seemingly unimportant contributions made by volunteers allow the bigger work of the organization to be go on—so make sure they know what that is.
  2. Be open: Share the challenges, both operational and financial, with trusted volunteers. If things are tough, let them know—they may be more inclined to stick around and help the organization through.
  3. Move them around: Help volunteers develop new skills, if they’re interested in the opportunity to do so. Don’t think that just because Marcy seems happy greeting visitors at the front desk that she wouldn’t enjoy learning more about how to lay out the newsletter. Ask your volunteers about the skills they would like to develop.
  4. Treat them fairly: Volunteers usually know when they’re being treated unfairly. And even if they’re not, they may feel it anyway. Avoid problems by being creative about finding ways to treat all of your volunteers fairly. Spread out the workload. Show your appreciation evenly. Don’t play favorites.
  5. Challenge them: Don’t expect the least from your volunteers. Expect their best effort. Keep them challenged, and they will feel valued and engaged. If you can, offer training to volunteers to help them excel in their positions.
  6. Respect their time: Volunteers need balance, too. If you have volunteers who are putting in too much time with your organization, gently let them know they need to take some time off. Burned-out volunteers might soon be ex-volunteers.