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National Service Blog - Archive
by
Wendy Spencer

During this holiday season, we are reminded of a timeless lesson:  it is better to give than receive, more blessed to serve than be served. And our new Volunteering and Civic Life in America report shows that Americans embrace this idea -- not only during the holidays, but all year long.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) issues this research every year in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship. The research provides a wealth of information on volunteering and civic life, including trends and demographics for the nation, every state, and 126 cities. This in-depth “look under the hood” helps local leaders better understand volunteer dynamics and develop strategies to engage more citizens in meeting community needs. 

Volunteering Remains Strong | 1 in 4 Americans volunteer (26.5%), enhancing opportunities for their neighbors and communities.  64.5 million Americans served 7.9 billion hours.

Our new report shows that volunteering remains stable and strong across the United States, and has a strong pull across generations. Altogether, more than 64.5 million adults volunteered through an organization in 2012, for a national volunteer rate of 26.5 percent, essentially unchanged from the prior year. Volunteers gave nearly 7.9 billion hours of service, worth an estimated $175 billion, based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.

We found that Americans commitment to volunteering spans across generations:

  • America’s teens continue to increase their level of volunteering, rising by nearly 3 percent during the last six years.
  • Generation X volunteers (current age 32 to 48) are riding an even-longer streak of volunteering increases, and they now have the highest volunteer rate of any age group.
  • Not to be outdone, our seniors 65 and over are staying involved, contributing a median of 90 hours annually, a figure far above the level of the general population.

Like last year, we found that parents are the backbone of community volunteering, with more than one-third of those living with children under 18 taking the time to help. And let’s not forget our country’s working moms, who volunteer significantly more than the general population in addition to all of their other responsibilities.

Volunteers are the giving heart of America, essential to our nation’s social and economic well-being. They do hard-but-important work: helping kids learn to read and stay in school, rebuilding communities after disasters, connecting veterans to services, bringing life back to forgotten neighborhoods, and much more.

Volunteering also connects us with our neighbors and provides a chance to use own skills for the common good. Our Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment study showed that volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. These connections create benefits that are even more pronounced for volunteers who don’t have a high school diploma or who live in rural areas, increasing the likelihood of finding work by 51 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

This spirit of generosity doesn’t end with the time volunteers give. Our research found that volunteers are twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers, with 8 in 10 volunteers ready to open their wallets for a good cause, compared to just 4 in 10 for those who don’t volunteer. 

All of this is great news for our nonprofits, our communities, and our country, and says so much about the nation in which we are blessed to live.

This time of year is often when we reflect on the past year and set our goals for the next. Given all the good it does for you and your community; resolve to make volunteering a part of your life in 2014.

Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Learn more about the 2013 Volunteering in Civic Life in America research at VolunteeringinAmerica.gov. To find a volunteer opportunity in your community, visit Serve.gov. This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post Impact blog.

Keywords: AmeriCorps, Education, Literacy, Minnesota, Reading
President Obama today celebrated the remarkable achievements of student science fair winners and extraordinary kid innovators from across the nation in the third White House Science Fair. The Fair brought 100 students from more than 40 states to an all-day, hands-on celebration of the power and potential of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
Every October, millions of people across the nation volunteer their time during Make A Difference Day to make their communities better places to live. This week, 10 projects and three cities will be honored with Make A Difference Awards, and several national service participants – including two AmeriCorps members – will be recognized.
Don't miss this year's National Conference on Volunteering and Service… or the early-bird registration rate!
This month is full of volunteering and community impact. National Volunteer Week is April 21-27, followed by a weekend where millions of young people across the country will participate in the 2013 Global Youth Service Day taking place on April 26-28.
America is a nation of volunteers. Results from our annual Volunteering in America survey show how willing our friends and neighbors are to lend a helping hand. More than 64 million Americans volunteer each year, strengthening the nation’s safety net and providing vital services to our communities.
Today, 832 mayors from big cities to small towns and everything in between are participating in the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service. What a great way to highlight the many ways that AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers demonstrate the power that every citizen has to make a difference
Next week more than 730 mayors, collectively representing nearly 100 million Americans in all 50 states, will join together to recognize the impact of national service participants in AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs who are making a difference in their communities.
The new School Turnaround AmeriCorps is an exciting initiative that will provide resources to serve disadvantaged students in underperforming schools across the nation. Today, April 2, 2013, is the deadline for applicants that wish to participate to submit a Notice of Intent to Apply for the grant program.
Community leader and labor activist Cesar Chavez once said that, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him ... The people who give you their food give you their heart."
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase articles that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
For more 40 years, the Presidential Citizens Medal has recognized Americans who have "performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." The Medal is among the highest awards a civilian can receive.
Today's Wordless Wednesday focuses our recent celebration of AmeriCorps Week with a selection of photos from the AmeriCorps Facebook page.
As an Iraq War veteran, I am honored to work at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). We are home to more than 70,000 AmeriCorps members, whom we are celebrating as part of AmeriCorps Week.
Around the country, December is welcomed as a month of hope and good cheer. It may be a season for exchanging gifts, or for sharing time and resources with community members in need. For many, it is also a time to gather together with loved ones to reminisce about cherished memories and create new stories that will be shared in the future. Such stories preserve the legacy of a family, the history of a generation, and perhaps most important of all, the story of a nation.
For many AmeriCorps members, finishing a term of service is not an ending, but the beginning of a life dedicated to public service and improving the lives of others.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase articles that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently, including a new initiative to place AmeriCorps members in underperforming schools across the nation.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced the five institutions that are the Presidential Awardees in the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
The IRS filing deadline is less than two months away, reviving a task that ranks somewhere near having a root canal for a lot of Americans. However, there are many national service members who are ready and willing to tackle the job, free of charge, through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Who says accountants should have all the fun?
Recognizing the work AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs perform in communities across the nation, the National League of Cities (NLC) will join more than 275 city leaders to shine a spotlight on their service during the Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service on April 9.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and U.S. Department of Education announced a new collaborative effort today to strengthen and accelerate interventions in our nation’s lowest-performing schools. The new School Turnaround AmeriCorps program will support a dedicated unit of AmeriCorps members that will provide additional support and resources in persistently underachieving schools.
Disasters like Hurricane Sandy not only cause physical damage, but they can leave confusion and anger in their wake for weeks and months. So it must have surprised FEMA Corps Team Leader Cassie Murray to be declared “an angel” only a few hours after she was angrily confronted by one of the storm's survivors.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase articles that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
Today Sen. Harris Wofford received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Obama during a White House ceremony. We salute Sen. Wofford as he receives this honor and for his role as a longtime supporter and former CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. We’ve created a video that pays tribute to his legacy and highlights his life in public service.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama vowed to “make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America,” and he traveled to Georgia today to discuss the need for early childhood education. Improving education is a priority at the Corporation for National and Community Service that we support through proven national service efforts that make a difference in the lives of millions of students.
So, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and florists will be scrambling to fill orders and chocolate consumption is expected to rise by maybe a jillion percent. Suppose we take this day dedicated to love and use it to show that we have big hearts by serving or giving to others?
The blizzard that whacked the Northeast last weekend paralyzed the hardest-hit areas, and created a gigantic task for workers mobilized to clear roads and restore electricity to areas that lost power. The storm is a reminder that this season can pack a punch, and we need to be prepared to handle winter’s wrath.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase articles that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.gov blog. In this series, we showcase articles that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
The chance to get in on the ground floor and build something new attracted recent college grad Ben Barron to the FEMA Corps AmeriCorps NCCC unit. Last fall his class went to work with the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery effort in New York, where he learned a lot about himself and the strength of the human spirit.
The Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation's second-highest civilian honor, recognizes American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. Sen. Harris Wofford will be honored along with other recipients at a White House ceremony on Friday, Feb. 15.

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