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Sterling Volunteers and VolunteerMatch Release “2021 Industry Insights: Nonprofit and Volunteer Perspectives”

—94% of Volunteers and Organizations are Optimistic about the Future of Volunteerism Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic—

NEW YORK (November 3, 2021) — Sterling Volunteers, the dedicated nonprofit and service sector unit of Sterling — a leading provider of background and identity services — has released 2021 Industry Insights: Nonprofit and Volunteer Perspectives. Published in partnership with VolunteerMatch, the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network, the third annual Industry Insights report explores varying perspectives and evolving trends in volunteer engagement, background screening, volunteering advancements, and the state of volunteerism.

“This past year has been a rough road. Our impact partners have needed to be resilient and resourceful, and have risen to the occasion, ensuring our communities have what they need to survive and even thrive,” said Laura Plato, Chief Solutions Officer, VolunteerMatch. Plato continued, “The global pandemic has enhanced our drive to connect and care. Volunteers were eager to get back to service, and nonprofits are ready to welcome them back.”

“While volunteerism is thriving, many organizations still need more volunteers. Only 1% of the organizations in the survey said they had enough volunteers,” said Katie Zwetzig, Executive Director, Sterling Volunteers. Zwetzig continued, “Organizations proved their resilience and agility last year, finding creative ways to engage volunteers and support their missions among the uncertainties accompanying a global pandemic.”

Sterling Volunteers and VolunteerMatch surveyed a random sample of 3,927 total respondents (2,577 volunteers and 1,350 nonprofit organizations) across the U.S. Among the report’s key takeaways:

  • Most volunteers continued volunteering during the pandemic while one-in-five held off due to Covid-19.
  • One-in-four organizations have uncovered a violent crime with a background check.
  • Eighty-two percent of organizations emphasized access to “virtual and in-person” opportunities, versus 54% in 2020.
  • Volunteers are willing to pay $20-$25 for their background check—more than organizations think.
  • Volunteers are ready for a secure digital identity wallet, as 62% of respondents—compared to 46% in 2020—said they would use a digital identity wallet.

In addition, the report sheds light on why now is a great time to expand corporate partnerships to advance volunteer opportunities and screening education, as over 10% of respondents say they find volunteers or volunteer opportunities through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, and more than 40% would like CSR opportunities to be incorporated into volunteer programs.

The full 2021 Industry Insights report can be found here.

About Sterling Volunteers
Sterling Volunteers is dedicated to the nonprofit and service sector, helping organizations fulfill their service missions and positively impact communities. We simplify the volunteer screening process and have screened millions of volunteers who are ready to mobilize when opportunities arise. Sterling Volunteers is a division of Sterling, a leading provider of background and identity services that helps over 40,000 clients create people-first cultures built on a foundation of trust and safety. Visit us at

About Sterling
Sterling — a leading provider of background and identity services — offers background and identity verification to help over 40,000 clients create people-first cultures built on a foundation of trust and safety. Sterling’s tech-enabled services help organizations across all industries establish great environments for their workers, partners, and customers. With operations around the world, Sterling conducts more than 75 million background checks annually. Visit us at

About VolunteerMatch
VolunteerMatch believes everyone should have the chance to make a difference. As the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network, serving over 120,000 participating nonprofits, 150 network partners, and 13 million annual visitors, VolunteerMatch offers unique, award-winning solutions for individuals, nonprofits, and companies to make this vision a reality.

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