Volunteers seen as underutilized

Volunteers often bring valuable professional skills with them when they work with nonprofits, but those skills are rarely put to work, a new study says.

In a survey of nonprofit leaders and volunteers conducted by the Points of Light Foundation and Deloitte & Touche USA, three in four nonprofit leaders say volunteers’ professional skills could help their nonprofits.

Yet only slightly more than one in 10 of those leaders say they actually make use of their volunteers’ professional skills, says the 2006 Volunteer Impact Study.

Almost three in four volunteers say they believe their skills would be valuable to nonprofits, and two in five say they seek out opportunities to use their skills when volunteering.

But while nearly one in three say their professional skills are the most valuable asset they bring to nonprofits, only one in five say their volunteer assignments take advantage of those skills primarily, the study says.

Two in three volunteers say their volunteer experiences also have a positive effect on their careers.

The underutilization of those skills represents a missed opportunity for both nonprofits and volunteers, the report says.

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