From: National Service Press Office
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 9:03 AM
Subject: In Tough Times, Volunteering In
The Corporation for National and Community Service released Volunteering in America 2009 this morning. Check out VolunteeringinAmerica.gov for the most comprehensive data on volunteering trends and demographics ever assembled, including profiles of volunteering in all 50 states, Washington DC, and nearly 200 cities. Visit Serve.gov for a video about the research featuring Corporation Acting CEO Nicola Goren. The report is already being featured on the front page of USA Today, in the Washington Post, and the Associated Press. We encourage you to read the research to better understand volunteering trends and demographics in your area and to use the data to develop effective strategies for recruiting and retaining volunteers to tackle key challenges.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sandy Scott
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 202-606-6724; firstname.lastname@example.org
In Tough Times, Volunteering In
New Federal Report Ranks 50 States and 200 Cities, Shows Young Adults & “Do-It-Yourself” Volunteers Leading Compassion Boom
Volunteering in America 2009, the most comprehensive data ever assembled on volunteer trends and demographics, found that a total of 61.8 million Americans volunteered through an organization in 2008, up one million from the previous year.
While the formal volunteering rate in
“In this time of economic distress, we need service and volunteering more than ever to build a new foundation for growth,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “This report suggests that Americans are responding to the hardship around them by reaching out in service to others, giving their time when they cannot give their money. It reminds us of the generosity of the American spirit, and challenges us to work harder to make service part of the daily life of every American.”
The fact the volunteering held steady during a time of high unemployment and foreclosure rates was welcome news to nonprofit and government leaders, who are facing increasing demands at a time of dwindling resources. Previous research would suggest that volunteering should drop during an economic downturn, because volunteer rates are higher among job-holders and homeowners. Volunteering trends for 2008 stand in stark contrast to charitable giving, which experienced the steepest decline in the past 53 years last year.
The report also found an increase in volunteering by young adults (age 16-24), rising from 7.8 million in 2007 to 8.2 million in 2008. The finding aligns with other indicators suggesting a strong service ethic among the millennial generation, including a 217 percent increase in applications to AmeriCorps over the past 8 months.
The research is based on annual surveys of approximately 100,000 individuals collected by the U.S. Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in partnership with the Corporation. The VolunteeringInAmerica.gov website contains nine years of data on volunteering, and rankings, volunteer trends and demographic information for every state and almost 200 large and mid-sized cities. It is produced to help national, state and local leaders better understand volunteering trends and demographics and use the data to develop effective strategies for recruiting and retaining volunteers.
“Driven by young adults and neighbors with a do-it yourself spirit, Americans are responding to tough times by reaching out to help others in need,” said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation. “The need is great, the momentum is strong, and potential is unlimited for ushering in a new era of service in
To make it easier for Americans to volunteer, the Corporation worked with the White House to launch a new Serve.gov website in June. At Serve.gov, organizations can post their needs, and potential volunteers can find local opportunities simply by entering their zip codes. The site includes do-it-yourself toolkits with instructions for finding and filling local needs, and a blog featuring stories of service from people all across the country.
Nonprofits Turning to Volunteers to Fill the Gap
As part of this year’s report, the Corporation supported
In the wake of declining financial and staff resources, more nonprofits are relying on and increasing their demand for volunteers. The Hopkins study found that between September 2008 and March 2009, more than a third (37 percent) of nonprofit organizations reported increasing the number of volunteers they use, and almost half (48 percent) foresee increasing their use of volunteers in the coming year. That effort could also help with fundraising challenges since this report also discovered that individuals who volunteer are more than twice as likely to donate to a charity or nonprofit organization as individuals who do not volunteer: 78.2 percent of volunteers made a charitable contribution worth $25 or more as compared to 38.5 percent of non-volunteers.
· For the fourth year in a row,
· Minneapolis-St. Paul once again ranked number one among large cities at 38.4%, followed by
· Mid-size cities, particularly those in the
· In the second annual look at volunteering in 75 mid-sized cities,
· Although women are more likely than men to be volunteers – in fact, working mothers have the highest volunteer rates of all – men are more likely to participate in their community in less formal ways.
“Volunteering in America 2009” is based on data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics through a “volunteering supplement” to the Current Population Survey from 2002 to 2008. Volunteers are defined as persons who did unpaid work through or for an organization. The report includes information for all 50 states,
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that each year engages four million Americans of all ages and backgrounds through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
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