Charities could learn from McDonald’s when trying to attract volunteers, according to new research by a not-for-profit sector think-tank.
The report from nfpSynergy, titled The 21st Century Volunteer, says that despite 2005 being the Year of the Volunteer, significantly fewer people are giving up their time in aid of good causes than in 2004.
It notes the rise of the “selfish volunteers” – workers who want to benefit from donating their time to a charity, and says that charities must learn to market their vacancies.
The report says that giving time needs to be packaged and marketed in the same way as fundraising. It adds that people who donate their time as well as money to good causes should know exactly what they will be expected to do and what is in it for them, advising “McDonald’s can teach charities a thing or two about productisation [selling its product].”
Volunteering requests are often vague and unclear, which puts potential helpers off, says the report. It suggests that charities should follow the lead of McDonald’s, where meals are packaged and “people know exactly what they are getting, for better and worse”.
The report concludes that people who volunteer now do so because they believe in a cause rather than having time on their hands, which has historically often been the case.