Rise of the selfish volunteer

Volunteers are increasingly interested in what they can get out of volunteering, and nonprofits must adapt, a new study says.

In “The 21st Century Volunteer,” commissioned by the Scout Association and conducted by London-based nfpSynergy, research says volunteers are looking for concrete returns on their efforts.

That may include career experience, a chance to build their skills, or the opportunity to meet people, the study says.

Volunteers also have more demands on their time than in years past and have become more selective about how and where they donate their time.

Given these trends, the study says, nonprofits should “productise” their volunteer opportunities by packaging and marketing them in a way that attracts today’s busy, discerning volunteers.

That involves packaging opportunities so volunteers are presented with specific tasks that are measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

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