By Michael Wong, JD (Founder & Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)
Recently an Associated Press article’s headline caught my attention – “Nonprofits Scramble for Help Amid Dearth of Volunteers”. According to that article, getting volunteer help at nonprofits has become much more difficult since the COVID pandemic:
As pandemic-related government aid programs end and inflation rises, nonprofits of all kinds are looking everywhere and trying everything to get volunteers. According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau and AmeriCorps survey, formal volunteer participation was 23.2 percent, dropping 7 percentage points from 2019 to 2021 — the largest decrease the survey has recorded since a version of it started in 2002.
It’s reached the point where the lack of volunteers strains the safety net that nonprofits provide to many of society’s most vulnerable.
“This is a wake-up call for the social sector, which depends on volunteers, especially as needs for services remain high,” said Michael D. Smith, CEO of AmeriCorps, which has opened its yearly grant program to award $8 million to help nonprofits recruit and retain volunteers.