Volunteering in America

Volunteer at your local pet shelter. The need is staggering and the rewards can change (and save) lives.

 

Volunteering and Civic Life In America

Volunteering and Civic Life in America, a report issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, shows that Americans significantly increased their commitment to volunteering and civic engagement in 2011, with the national volunteer rate reaching a five-year high.

The report also finds that parents of school-aged children contributed more than 2.5 billion hours of their time to volunteer efforts in 2011, most of it to school-based projects, underscoring the pivotal role that schools play as hubs for local volunteer efforts.

Overall, 64.3 million Americans (more than one in four adults) volunteered through a formal organization last year, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010. The 7.9 billion hours these individuals volunteered is valued at $171 billion. Among citizens who volunteered through an organization, the top activities included fundraising or selling items to raise money (26.2%); collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (23.6%); engaging in general labor or transportation (20.3%); or tutoring or teaching (18.2%).

The data for this report was collected through two supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS): the Volunteer Supplement and the Civic Engagement Supplement. The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households (approximately 100,000 adults), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The selected supplements collect data on the volunteering, voting, and civic activities of adults age 16 and older for volunteering and 18 and older for the civic supplement. Volunteers are considered individuals who performed unpaid volunteer activities through or for an organization at any point during the 12-month period (from September 1st of the prior year through the survey week in September of the survey year).

Volunteering and Civic Life in America provides an opportunity for policy makers, nonprofit and business leaders, and interested individuals to interact with their local data and access analysis on volunteering trends across the country. The site also hosts tools and effective practices designed to help local leaders target volunteer recruiting efforts more effectively, match local programs with available volunteer resources, fill service gaps, and do a better job of retaining their volunteers.

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