News & Updates

2020 Industry Insights: How Volunteer and Organization Perspectives Align

— Annual Research Report Examines Volunteerism Trends, Practices and Perspectives —


New York, NY (March 3, 2020) — Sterling Volunteers, the dedicated nonprofit and service sector unit of Sterling — a leading provider of background and identity services—has released 2020 Industry Insights: How Volunteer and Organization Perspectives Align. Prepared in partnership with VolunteerMatch, the web’s largest volunteer engagement network, the annual research report provides insight into the world of volunteering and nonprofit organizations, examining how volunteer and organizational perspectives align on topics ranging from what motivates volunteers to the role of social media in finding volunteer opportunities.

“The strongest relationships between volunteers and nonprofit organizations are built on trust, transparency, and shared goals,” said Katie Zwetzig, Executive Director, Sterling Volunteers. “This research helps us to fulfill our mission of mobilizing trusted volunteers and connecting vetted volunteers to more organizations, reducing onboarding time and costs for each unique group.”

“Both VolunteerMatch and Sterling Volunteers share a passion for using technology to bring good people together and create better ways to put time and talent to good use,” said Greg Baldwin, CEO, VolunteerMatch. “As the volunteerism landscape continues to evolve, it is exciting how nonprofits are elevating their expectations to engage volunteers across a broad range of activities, skills and interests.”

For the 2020 research study, over 10,000 volunteers and 735 nonprofit organizations were surveyed. The study found that volunteers are increasingly giving their time for the social aspect, sharing the impact of a volunteer’s service is key to engagement, and, overall, people are optimistic about the future of volunteerism. Among a few key takeaways:

  • POSITIVE IMPACT: 81% of volunteers and 80% of organizations say people volunteer because they want to make a positive impact in the community.
  • SOCIAL ASPECT: 54% of volunteers say they volunteer because they like to be social and productive at the same time.
  • ENGAGEMENT: 62% of volunteers consider themselves active volunteers, while 62% of organizations report having highly engaged, frequent volunteers.
  • RECRUITMENT: 47% of volunteers say they find opportunities through volunteer websites, apps or on social media, with Facebook being the most popular social recruitment channel, followed by Instagram.
  • BACKGROUND CHECKS: 98% of organizations say they conduct background checks, while 70% of volunteers are in favor of screening.

The full report—which includes additional data, analysis and takeaways—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 represent the largest network of vetted volunteers, millions of people ready to mobilize when opportunities arise, helping simplify the volunteer recruitment process. Sterling Volunteers is a division of Sterling, which has pioneered innovation in the background screening industry for more than 40 years. Visit Sterling Volunteers online at

About Sterling
Sterling—a leading provider of background and identity services—offers a foundation of trust and safety that spans across industries, professions, and borders. Our technology-powered services help organizations create great environments for their workers, partners, and customers. With office locations around the world, Sterling conducts more than 75 million searches annually. Visit Sterling online at 

About VolunteerMatch
VolunteerMatch believes everyone should have the chance to make a difference. As the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network, serving 130,000 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. Visit VolunteerMatch at

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