The average American volunteers
about 48 hours per year (4 hours/month)
to charitable causes.
High levels of volunteerism and civic engagement can lead to lower unemployment rates, stronger economic benefits for individuals, and stronger economic communities.
People who volunteer with an organization during the day, are building up their skills, networking and meeting new people. Volunteering can lead to economic opportunity as volunteers gain new skills and meet new contacts, as well as experience the profound joy and satisfaction that comes from serving a larger cause. Volunteering can also provide a somewhat intangible benefit to people: Hope.
Responding to disasters often brings out the best in Americans, who have a strong desire to help their neighbors in need.
Faith-based organizations are on the ground identifying needs. They are working and serving in communities and neighborhoods, and they hear from the public about the needs. The #1 volunteer activity in 2011 was raising funds for charities of faith-based organizations. Faith-based organizations often provide the most well-oiled mechanism. They are adept at finding specific needs in the community and working to address those needs. Faith-based organizations provide a very well-organized vehicle for people to help through. Americans want to help others, but they need to be connected to both a need and an organized mechanism. They can't just show up.
The civic health of communities is linked with unemployment rates. Volunteering, public meetings, voting, helping neighbors and a high density of nonprofits all contribute to communities with lower unemployment. This is something for public officials, such as mayors, to recognize. (Wendy Spencer, CEO of Corporation for National & Community Service, "More Americans volunteering time, new report shows," by Tom Betar, Deseret News, December 23, 2012)
- The #1 reason people volunteer, is because they are asked!
- In 2011, more than 64 million Americans volunteered through an organization. It was a five-year high, the end result nearly 8 billion hours. In addition to that, most Americans helped their neighbors in some way, and more than a third actively participated in a civic, religious or school group.
No one counted the acts of kindness and charity committed on an individual basis by those who simply knew someone with a need and tried to meet it: People who helped families that would otherwise do without at Christmas time, who taught someone to read, or manned a desk at the local homeless shelter, or gathered books for an informal rural library. No one gathered statistics on how many people cleared their neighbor's sidewalk, or picked up a few items at the store for a home bound elderly neighbor when they did their own shopping. (Volunteering and Civic Life in America; Corporation for National & Community Service)
- One-third (34.4%) of those who volunteered in 2011 did so through religious organizations, the highest percentage in any sector. Religious organizations often provide the best structure for organized volunteering and the best insight into on-the-ground-needs.
- Nonprofits are facing an increasing demand for their services. Volunteer to step in and provide help that will benefit you and our community. (2013)
- Find a volunteer opportunity that works for you. Your service can make a difference.