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Survey: 86 percent of nonprofits report fiscal stress

The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) has released its survey on the status of Minnesota's volunteer programs in a shifting environment.

The survey of 280 Minnesota nonprofit and governmental organizations in late September found:

•Organizations experiencing widespread changes in volunteers' interests. Forty-four percent of respondents reported increased numbers of inquiries from potential new volunteers. Fifty-two percent reported volunteers were more likely to have strong work skills and 54 percent said they were more likely to be unemployed.

•Fiscal stress is widespread in organizations. Eighty-six percent reported organizational fiscal stress.

•Reliance on volunteers has increased for the majority of organizations. Nearly 60 percent reported an increased reliance on volunteers compared to a year ago. More than 50 percent reported an increase in volunteer hours of service.

•Sixty percent were able to place most of the potential volunteers.

Respondents suggested hundreds of strategies for volunteer programs to respond to the changing times.

When the economy was sinking into recession in early 2009, MAVA started receiving reports from members of dramatic and surprising changes in volunteer availability and of complex stresses for volunteer program managers.

MAVA decided to move beyond anecdotal information and survey nonprofit and governmental organizations that involve volunteers to get a better picture of what was changing.

"From survey responses, we learned of organizations struggling because their main volunteers are working two jobs and have less time to volunteer. We heard from other organizations the reverse, that they are seeing a surge of interest from potential volunteers. The common theme was change," said Mary Quirk, MAVA volunteer resources project manager.

"One finding stood out above the others - 60 percent of organizations reported an increased reliance on volunteers. Organizations are involving volunteers in new and creative ways. They have developed strategies to capitalize on the contributions Minnesota's volunteer workforce, with a value of over $3 billion a year, can make during the tough economic times," added Quirk.

MAVA is using the survey results to hold symposiums and work sessions around Minnesota where leaders of volunteers can learn cutting edge solutions in the current climate. Funding for MAVA advanced topic initiatives is provided in part by the Otto Bremer Foundation and the St. Paul Foundation.

For the full survey report go to

About the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration

The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) has more than 800 members across the state of Minnesota. Founded as a 501(c)(3) in 2001, it is an alliance of individuals and networks dedicated to providing support and resources to those who lead volunteers. MAVA ( unites administrators of structured volunteer programs and informal volunteer initiatives, as well as those who have an interest in promoting volunteerism across the state. MAVA members represent all sectors of society including faith communities, health care, social service, education, government, grassroots organizations and more.