About the Survey
Nevada’s volunteer participation rate (20.7%) is one of the lowest and currently ranked 49th in the nation. The UNLV Volunteer Research Initiative team is collaborating with United Way of Southern Nevada and The Governor’s Commission on Service to improve volunteerism in the State.
The UNLV Volunteer Research Initiative Team reached out 1,530 Nevadans who volunteered with local non-profit organizations between July 20 and September 21, 2015. The online survey was administered to learn about volunteers’ motivations, incentives and barriers to volunteerism in Nevada.
Top 5 Reasons Why Nevadans Volunteer
I volunteer because...
I find the work meaningful 94%
I have enough free time 92%
I find the work interesting 89%
My skills and experience are used effectively 80%
I am socially comfortable with fellow vounteers 72%
We know that Nevada’s volunteerism rate is low compared to the rest of the country. However, the results of this survey show that people are interested in both formal and informal volunteering. This is an important finding because informal volunteering behaviors are not captured in national data on volunteering. Thus, it may be the case that Nevada does indeed have a greater level of volunteerism (including both formal and informal) than previously thought.
- Many of Nevada’s volunteers are interested in participating in informal volunteering, a trend that is unlikely to be captured in the national statistics about volunteerism in the state.
- The majority of Nevada’s current volunteers are women. Volunteer recruitment should find creative ways to target men and increase their participation.
- Current volunteers are interested in a wide variety of types of volunteerism opportunities, and they have a variety of interests. This highlights the need to effectively match volunteers with opportunities that capitalize on their interests.
- Most volunteers find their opportunities through websites and through family and friends. Given this finding, we should continue to promote volunteerism using these kinds of online networks.
- Nonprofits who want to recruit more volunteers might pay attention to the motivations and barriers to volunteerism reported by volunteers themselves. These can be used to inform recruitment efforts.
Top 5 Nevadans Wants from Volunteering
I volunteer more if it...
...allowed me to make meaningful contributions to my community 93%
...allowed me to make use of my life experince 93%
...made me feel happier 93%
...allowed me to volunteer on a flexible schedule 90%
...allowed me to make use of my work expertise 88%
Top 5 Barriers for Nevadans to Volunteer
I don't volunteer because...
I dont have the free time 28%
I don't have information about opportunites 22.3%
Volunteering is too inflexible schedule wise 18%
No one asked me to 15%
of my physical limitations 12%
Top 5 Suggestions from Volunteers in Nevada
To promote volunteerism…
1) Increase visibility of information about volunteer opportunities
- “I find that Las Vegas entities don’t do a good job seeking volunteers, explaining what they need, or responding to requests for information.”
2) Develop a volunteer “Information Hub”
- “What will it take to get a physical central hub for nonprofit resources in major metropolitan areas of Nevada which can support the state’s NPO community?”
3) Improve the design of volunteer programs
- “I feel as though just because I have the knowledge and whereabouts as to how to come about volunteer experience, it doesn’t mean that others do too. More information on how and where to volunteer would help many.”
4) Better-manage volunteers
- “Management of the organization makes a big difference in wanting/not wanting to volunteer for them.”
5) Improve collaborations across volunteer organizations
- “Nevada needs to have the organizations work together more to improve the volunteer experience for the organizations & the people they are helping so everyone benefits more.”
This community-engaged research program has been nourished by the support of many community partners. Chris Cappas and Teri Janison of United Way of Southern Nevada have been wonderful supporters of this research, and we are grateful for having such enthusiastic community partners who do such good to promote volunteerism in the community. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Amber Martin-Jahn, Executive Director of Nevada Volunteers, whose support, vision, and partnership on this project has been invaluable. Dawn Carr at the Stanford Center on Longevity has been a fantastic collaborator, and we are grateful for our ongoing research partnership. We also appreciate Dr. Monica Lounsbery’s contributions to the initial development and facilitation of this research program.
Other wonderful supporters include Scott Emerson, CEO of the Southern Nevada Region of the American Red Cross; Jacob Murdock of The Las Vegas Mob Museum and coordinator of the Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (DOVIA) Network in Southern Nevada; and Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada.
We also want to thank the Nonprofit CEO group and the Volunteer Coordinators who gave us invaluable feedback on the challenges and opportunities about volunteerism in Nevada and who disseminated our survey among their volunteers. The results of this survey underscore the value of the work you do engaging and promoting volunteerism in Nevada.