Nonprofits Missing Out on Pro Bono, Volunteer Opportunities, Survey Finds

Nonprofits and corporations are overlooking an opportunity to leverage pro bono and skilled volunteer support to offset a decline in corporate giving dollars, a new survey from New York City-based Deloitte finds.

According to the 2009 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, nearly 40 percent of nonprofit executives said that, despite the recession, they will spend between $50,000 and $250,000 or more on outside contractors and consultants this year, while 24 percent said they have no plans to use skilled volunteers or pro bono support in any capacity. While 35 percent of nonprofits and 26 percent of corporations have no one in charge of volunteer management and employee volunteer programs, respectively, 17 percent of corporations have no employee volunteer program at all.

The survey suggests that the slow adoption of skilled volunteer services has been due in part to a widespread lack of knowledge among nonprofits when it comes to securing pro bono projects. Nearly all nonprofits surveyed (97 percent) did not know who in a company to approach with pro bono requests, while 95 percent did not know which companies to appeal to with such a request.

"The current economic crisis and the new administration's national call for service underscores the need for corporations and nonprofits alike to broaden their definition of corporate giving," said Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg. "Nonprofits and corporations are encouraged to think of pro bono and skill-based volunteerism as a valuable form of currency. It is an opportunity to more fully maximize corporate assets, especially when demand for nonprofit services are on the rise and corporate giving is on the decline."