Washington, DC – The Corporation for National and Community Service announced $4 million in funding to recruit, manage, and retain more volunteers to meet address pressing social challenges today. The Volunteer Generation Fund, a new program authorized under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, is designed to expand opportunities for more Americans to serve while enhancing the capacity of nonprofits to have a sustained impact in local communities.
“Every day volunteers are finding ways to solve problems in their communities,” said Corporation CEO Patrick Corvington. “But to meet today's challenges, we need more Americans to get involved, and we need to do a better job of retaining those who have stepped up to serve. These funds will strengthen volunteer management across the country, making it easier for Americans to make a difference.”
While volunteering is on the rise amid these tough times, volunteer retention remains a significant issue. More than 35 percent of America's volunteers dropped out between 2007 and 2008, representing a huge loss of valuable human capital – about $30 billion a year, according to the Corporation's Volunteering in America research. The Volunteer Generation Fund will help plug this “leaky bucket” of volunteer attrition, grow the nation's volunteer pool, and create a sustainable infrastructure of volunteer connector organizations to increase the impact of volunteers.
Specifically, the grants will support activities to identify effective approaches to increase the number of volunteers, strengthen the capacity of volunteer connector organizations to recruit and retain volunteers, and develop strategies to effectively use volunteers to solve local problems. Applicants must provide evidence that such organizations have enhanced their capacity to fulfill the following requirements:
- Engage local partner organizations that use volunteers in a collaborative process of planning and implementation for increasing the impact of volunteers in meeting critical needs;
- Provide relevant, competency-based volunteer roles and opportunities that attract and retain high caliber volunteers;
- Develop the internal operational systems and financial management systems that will provide organizational sustainability; and