Nonprofit organizations may face a shortage of volunteers as the holidays approach — a time of year when they might have had to turn away volunteers in pre-pandemic times, according to new research from Fidelity Charitable.
Sixty-five percent of volunteers reduced the time they contributed or stopped volunteering altogether because of the pandemic, the study found.
Of those who continued to volunteer, two in three turned to virtual or remote opportunities, compared with 81% of people who volunteered in-person before the pandemic.
Sixty-four percent of those who had not tried virtual or remote volunteer activities were not sure how to find them.
“This lack of awareness has hurt nonprofits at a time when they are already suffering more than ever before,” Amy Pirozzolo, head of donor engagement for Fidelity Charitable, said in a statement.
“Charities essentially lost access to millions of dollars in volunteers’ time,” Pirozzolo said, citing Independent Sector’s estimate of $27.20 as the average value of a volunteer’s hour.
According to the study many nonprofits include information about current volunteer needs on their websites, and organizations such as VolunteerMatch, local United Way chapters and Points of Light offer listings of volunteer opportunities at multiple charities.
The findings suggest that nonprofits should be proactive about informing their supporters of ways they can continue to safely offer help, as they adapt their volunteer programs.