09/24/09 — Volunteer rolls get harder to recruit

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Volunteer rolls get harder to recruit

By Laura Collins
Published in News on September 24, 2009 1:46 PM

Nearly a year after the closing of Volunteer Wayne, some area agencies are already feeling its effects.

Volunteer Wayne, a program that actively recruited and connected volunteers with nonprofit and charitable organizations in Wayne County, closed its doors last Dec. 31 due to funding cutbacks at Wayne Community College.

Since then, the United Way of Wayne County has taken over running the Volunteer Wayne Web site, which still posts area volunteer opportunities. Volunteer Wayne was also used to coordinate United Way's Days of Caring, which had only six of its 29 projects adopted this year without the organization's coordination.

Steve Parr, executive director of United Way, said it's been hard this year to recruit volunteers.

"I think there's still volunteers that are being recruited, I think a lot of organizations are recruiting as they need them," he said. "It's become more and more difficult to recruit volunteers. People don't have time, and that's a challenge."

In 2008, Volunteer Wayne actively recruited 419 new volunteers and 1,186 volunteers were recruited for special events. In 2009, with Volunteer Wayne functioning only as a Web site, 51 people signed up for projects through August.

Chuck Waller, executive director of Red Cross, said the economy has made volunteering harder.

"Most of the volunteers we get are by word of mouth. It has been challenging recently with the economy and the closing of Volunteer Wayne," he said. "We would get volunteers from them on a regular basis. But now we found that the most effective way is word of mouth."

Waller said he has heard from volunteers that a lot more people have more responsibilities at their own jobs, which has limited the amount of time they can give to volunteering.

The Red Cross did not have any of its projects selected for the Days of Caring.