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Volunteers Not Fully Tapped, Survey Shows

IPCs using more full-time staff to raise funds instead

7 Feb 2007 (TODAY)
Jasmine Yin

Volunteers may be the lifeblood of any charity but a survey of nearly 300
Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) show they are spending more
resources instead on fund-raising.

According to a 2005 survey by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy
Centre released yesterday, IPCs use an average of 12 full-timers for
fund-raising, seven times more than the 1.7 staff used to screen, recruit,
supervise and retain volunteers. This ratio was "skewed", the NVPC's
director for sector development Kevin Lee told Today, and was at the
expense of donations, as the volunteers themselves tend to be generous

It is worthwhile retaining this group, as current volunteers tend to
donate more than former and non-volunteers, he said.

A total of 287 IPCs in varying sectors and sizes were interviewed from
November to December 2005. Other findings: Among IPCs that engaged
volunteers in 2004, only 53 per cent of the volunteers were active. Just
one in 10 IPCs raked in $5 million or more in receipts in 2004.

The centre also highlighted a need to review and improve on IPCs' donor

While resources are devoted to staff and governance structures, such as
board reviews, what is sorely lacking are donor relations audits, in which
donor feedback is solicited, it said.

"At the moment, donors are dealt with on a transactional basis. 'I want
money, please give it to me and for that, I say thank you (and that's
it)'," Mr Lee said.

Instead, IPCs should keep donors updated on expenditure, plans and
direction, he added. This would help reduce donor fatigue.