Survey Examines Trends and Needs for Richmond’s Volunteer Efforts
How has the pandemic changed the volunteer needs of local nonprofits, and what might this mean for the future of volunteering in Greater Richmond?
To answer these questions, the Community Foundation partnered with Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond to conduct the Community Partners Survey. In the spring of 2020 and again in spring of 2021, the survey collected information about how local organizations were operating their volunteer programs and what challenges they faced. By analyzing this data, the Community Partners Survey aims to inform the sector how nonprofit and volunteer needs have shifted in the last year.
The survey received 86 total responses from nonprofits, government agencies, faith-based organizations, and schools. According to Christina Mastroianni, Vice President of Civic Engagement with the Community Foundation, one of the survey’s most notable findings involves the integration of virtual volunteering into existing service programs.
“We knew that we would see a shift towards virtual volunteering at the start of the pandemic, but what we’ve found is that that virtual opportunities are continuing even when in-person options are available again,” Mastroianni said. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of organizations conducting both in-person and virtual volunteering grew from 45% to 56%. “This means that more volunteer professionals are now managing two modes of volunteering at the same time, so our task is determining how to support them in balancing these efforts in a way that is both equitable and sustainable.”
The most pressing need identified was for the ongoing recruitment and retention of volunteers. Organizations also noted a lack of skilled volunteers as a barrier to their success in 2021. To address this concern, the Community Foundation recently launched Skills Connect. This platform helps nonprofits develop well-scoped skills-based projects and matches these projects with professionals who seek to volunteer their talents and expertise. “We’re always looking for new ways to connect good people to purpose-driven action, and Skills Connect is another way to make that happen,” said Alan Delbridge, Infrastructure and Technology Manager at the Community Foundation.
View the Community Partners Survey 2021