Monday, November 27, 2006

New Sources of Volunteers

No matter what topic I am offering a workshop in for nonprofits, the subject of the lack of volunteers always comes up. I talk about some new possibilites for volunteers today but what I am always surprised at is how few organizations take advantage of college students.

College students may be available for free as interns, or at a very low rate as work-study students where their funding from federal grants requires that they work. Some colleges only employ students in on-campus jobs to fulfill this requirement, but others seek community service jobs in nonprofits. You have to find out who is responsible for interns and work study at nearby colleges and they can describe how it works - it is different at every college. College fraternities and sororities frequently have a community service requirement as part of their national affiliation. Some colleges also have a community service requirement associated with some courses. My daughter had to complete community service as part of a required course in ethics. She was an America Reads tutor and received a nomination from the program director for college student volunteer of the year. Other students want to have volunteering as a resume builder and then of course there are those who just want to volunteer to help others. This all adds up to a lot of possibilities.

Now, a new study says that the number of college students who volunteer has grown sharply over the past four years, due in large part to Sept. 11th. The report, "College Students Helping America," was released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps and other service programs.

About 3.3 million students, or one in three, volunteered their time in 2005, up about 20 percent from 2002, a growth rate that is more than double that for adults over the same period. Much of that growth was driven by students who were in high school or entering college on 9/11/01 and who witnessed the acts of firefighters, police and others in the wake of the disaster.

You can check out the full reports with statistical data and charts at:

College Students Helping America Report

Marion Conway Consulting