Pandemic problems: Nonprofits need more skill-based volunteer help

Coronavirus

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A local organization that helps connect nonprofit organizations with volunteers says it’s looking for people with diverse skill sets to lend their talents.

VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads has had a busy year with filling the gap nonprofits need to help feed the hungry.

“Because there was a huge rise in need for food meals, delivery of the food, packaging of the food,” said Stephanie Gorham, who is the executive director. “Since COVID began, we have recruited 4,600 volunteers and in total through those organizations. They have packaged and delivered half a million meals.”

While recruitment numbers were high shortly after the pandemic hit, Gorham says they’ve recently seen a lull in the number of volunteers.

“Since the summer, we’ve seen volunteer fatigue and seen people go back to work and they may not have that extra time to serve,” she said.

But nonprofits still need help, especially when they’re not seeing enough funding coming in.

That’s why VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads is pushing for more people to get involved with skills-based volunteerism.

“It’s using the skill or expertise you have, your talent, to volunteer for a nonprofit,” she said.

Gorham says examples include lending a couple of hours to graphic design skills to help nonprofits.

Pro bono work is another example.

Gorham believes that skill-based volunteerism helps nonprofits that are already stretched thin staff-wise refocus on their missions.

“Quite a few nonprofits had to furlough or lay off staff. So, you’re not only having a very minimum staff, you’re having less to work with,” she said.

And, VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads has a specific age group they’re targeting: young professionals and those entering the workforce for the first time.

Gorham says community service can play a crucial role in talent retention for younger adults.

“We have amazing young talent in the Hampton Roads community. So, our efforts in getting them connected to volunteer opportunities in Hampton Roads is our way of getting them not to leave,” she said.

To learn more about VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads or to sign up, click here.

Gorham says the organization is currently working on getting ready for the Family Volunteer Day on Nov. 21.

They are looking for businesses and family groups to get involved. Volunteer work can be completed on-site or virtually.


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