US Flag AddThis Social Bookmark Button

 

Home United We Serve National Service
Mobile Menu Button
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
When 5-year old Andy Fass attended his first baseball game, it was hard to imagine it would change his life. But a chance meeting with legendary Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte gave Fass the desire to try a game he thought he would never play.
Alison's daily struggles while raising two young children made her dream of a college degree seem unobtainable. But things began to turn around when the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Washington, DC connected her with a Promotor.
Stefanie Dwyer’s childhood in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall shaped her future in a unique way. After growing up in a country that had many limitations, Dwyer held on to memories of horseback riding that inspired her to bring that sense of freedom to people with physical and mental challenges.
Jorge Muñoz's 2004 encounter with homeless day laborers sounds like the pivotal moment in the latest feel-good movie. But the “Angel in Queens” wouldn't be providing up to 140 meals nightly if the need in their words didn't resonate with him: “If we have a job, we will get money to eat tonight; if not, we don't eat anything.”
Once again the Corporation for National and Community Service is collaborating with the New York Yankees during its fourth annual HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) June 25-29 as the baseball franchise recognizes acts of goodwill and the hope and encouragement they provide.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights 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 Coulee Region RSVP in La Crosse, Wisconsin, collaborates with Gundersen Lutheran Health System's environmental stewardship program to mitigate some of the waste that was being sent to the county's landfill and reuse the material to help others in the hospital.
This week, I had the pleasure of attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago, IL. This annual gathering of the nonprofit sector brings together activists and organizers, government officials and nonprofit leaders from around the country.
More than 50 years ago, a group of young African-American college students staged a sit-in to demand service at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, NC , and sparked a youth movement throughout the country. As the sit-ins spread, some young people were beaten and even arrested, but they were not deterred. As a result, they helped end racial segregation in America, and showed the world how youth determination and leadership can make a difference.
For some veterans, it feels like another battle begins when they return home from serving their country – getting a place to call home.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) just announced a tremendous commitment to support veterans and military families at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. From expanded grants to increased “people power” in areas of need, we are ready to stand with our soldiers to provide opportunities that will help them continue their service here at home while we serve their special needs.
As thousands of service leaders gathered at National Conference on Volunteering and Service today, Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer announced $213 million in new AmeriCorps grants to strengthen the impact of more than 275 organizations across the country in tackling the most pressing challenges facing communities and the nation.
Today the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago.
Next week, CNCS is headed to Chicago for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. There, over 1000 members of the national service family will join the more than 4000 conference attendees for three days of service-focused conversations, lessons, and sessions.
Today's Wordless Wednesday celebrates National Smile Month with a look at the joy volunteers experience while giving back. With smiles like these, who wouldn't volunteer?
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights 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.
In October 2010, I began my first year of service as an AmeriCorps member with the Community Building Partnerships for Youth in Transition program in Denver, Colorado. I was placed with the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver in the Community Programs Branch at Bruce Randolph School and tasked with mentoring ten youth over the course of the year – a job I found both intimidating and exciting.
Minnesota Reading Corps, an AmeriCorps program designed to help every child in the state become a successful reader by the end of third grade, announced positive growth in its results with numbers that surpassed those for students statewide.
“I am the leadership of the now.” That's what Ely Flores told the White House Council for Community Solutions (the Council) during our meeting in October 2011. Ely used this phrase to express his deep frustration with policymakers and organizations that refer to youth as the “leadership of the future” and dismiss any potential contribution that young people can make in their communities today. Ely's words still resonate with me nearly seven months later – and motivate me to push harder to help young people with similar frustrations.
The Social Innovation Fund is excited to announce the applicants to the 2012 grant competition. We received 31 applications by the due date of March 27, of which 25 were compliant and moved on to the full competition.
The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has a rich heritage in food production, but an increased reliance on processed foods has left them susceptible to America's obesity epidemic. One way to battle this problem is to increase the availability of locally grown, healthy food choices, and the Red Cliff Mino Bi Ma De Se Win (Return to the Good Life) Community Farm is tackling the problem head-on.
We would all like to believe we control our own destiny. But experiences teach us we are sometimes shaped by forces outside ourselves: the opportunities we encounter, the people we meet, those who mentor us, and the communities that surround us. This is not to say that our paths are prescribed—but that we need the skills to recognize and seize opportunities that come our way.
Earlier this week, National Service traveled to Missouri to help the community of Joplin mark the one-year anniversary of the tornado that struck the town last year. The response to the destruction has been remarkable - with volunteers traveling from near and far to help rebuild Joplin. On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, thousands of Joplin residents, volunteers, and supporters came together to honor those lost and celebrate the last year's progress.
One year ago today, Joplin MO was ravaged by a devastating E5 tornado. In the 12 months that followed, the community responded with an unmatched sense of hope and a determination to rebound. National Service is proud to have been a part of these recovery efforts and continues to provide services there today.
Donations from around the country piled up and volunteers turned out in droves in the days and weeks that followed last year's devastating May 22 tornado in Joplin, MO. City officials estimate that Joplin received donated resources and volunteer hours totaling $17.7 million, the largest amount in Missouri's history and the largest amount ever recorded in FEMA's Region VII.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we'll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we'll be featuring a variety of content on the serve.gov blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.
On April 20, Nebraska young people paused for seven seconds of silence. These students and young adults were illustrating the fact that every seven seconds someone in our country is bullied. Together, 61,709 students and youth in communities across Nebraska made a personal pledge to fight bullying and stand up for those who are bullied.
For an aging individual coping with the loss of mobility, lack of proper foundations in and around a home can lead to difficulties remaining independent and mobile. This is especially true of our nation's veterans and as a nation, we have a duty to take care of these individuals who have sacrificed so much for our country.
May is a time of graduations, fresh spring air and new beginnings. But for many, graduation from high school or college is far from a reality, and opportunities for a fresh start are out of reach. At least one in six young people ages 16-24 are disconnected from school and work – the two pathways that provide the greatest hope for a bright and productive future. Yet, these young people dream of building careers and making important contributions to our communities. That's why we see them as “Opportunity Youth.”

Pages

Stay in Touch

Follow us on the following social networks, to ensure that you are always up to date!

Facebook Icon
Twitter Icon
YouTube Icon

 

 

CNCS Logo

Tell us how we're doing: serviceinitiative@cns.gov

National Service websites:

 

Back to Top