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Expert Alert

With more unemployed, volunteerism sees a spike

April 7, 2009

You might not go so far as to call it a silver lining, but the rise in unemployment numbers (more than 650,000 more in March) has resulted in an increase of volunteers for non-profit organizations. A University of Minnesota volunteering and non-profit management expert is:
Jodi Sandfort, University of Minnesota associate professor, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Because non-profits don't control their revenue sources, they are especially vulnerable to the economic downturn. So in many ways, an abundant volunteer workforce is helpful to non-profits, says Sandfort. Not only are organizations getting a flood of volunteers, but since economic downturn has hit all sectors they are tapping into a more advanced talent pool. For example, former financial experts are being dispatched to low-income communities to assist families with their taxes. At the same time, Sandfort cautions that some organizations do not have the resources to accommodate additional volunteers and they must be prudent when accepting help or they can end up needlessly wasting more resources and staff time. 

To interview this expert, contact the University News Service, (612) 624-5551.

Tags: Humphrey School of Public Affairs

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