We don’t often think of volunteering as an industry, but according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteer hours in the United States have an economic value of approximately $167 billion. About one in three Americans volunteered last year, making volunteering a strong, vital industry. Whether you work for a non-profit, or have employees who volunteer outside of work, here are the key takeaways about the state of the volunteer industry in 2018 and beyond.
How many people volunteered in 2018?
To give you a better idea of the importance of the volunteer industry, here are more numbers from the study by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which is the organization that runs AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. Last year, 77.4 million Americans volunteered for a total of 6.9 billion hours served. That’s “billion” with a “b.” The states that have the highest number of volunteers are Utah, with more than half of its citizens reporting they volunteered last year, Minnesota and Oregon.
What are the most popular types of volunteering?
More than a third of volunteers in 2018 spent their volunteer hours fundraising or selling items to make money, according to the CNCS study. This is the highest percentage of how people spend their volunteer hours. Those bake sales you see this time of year add up! In addition, 34% of volunteers collected, prepared, distributed or served food, at places like food banks, holiday dinners, and more. After that, 26% of volunteers collected, made, or distributed things like blankets, clothing and crafts.
Which organizations attracted the most volunteers?
The largest percentage of volunteers (32%) worked for their religious organization. After that, 26% of volunteers worked for a sports, hobby, cultural or arts organization. These are volunteer roles like soccer coaches, working at arts festivals, or ushering at a local play. In third place was volunteers working in education or youth related organizations.
When do organizations need volunteers?
It's a common misconception that organizations specifically need volunteers during the holidays, but this isn’t always the case. When an organization needs volunteers depends on what that organization does. For example, a political campaign will need a volunteer during summer and fall, while homeless shelters will particularly need volunteers in the winter. Some nonprofits need volunteers in their off season, when money is flowing more slowly, while others will need volunteers only in their main season. Across a variety of sectors, volunteers are needed year-round.
How can organizations find the right volunteers?
Volunteers are the backbone for most nonprofits, from churches to small arts organizations. Some of these volunteers function essentially like an employee, in terms of their level of responsibilities. Unfortunately, some nonprofits run into issues with volunteers with past problems. Background screening can help nonprofits manage volunteers with confidence, knowing that the volunteers are good people. For some volunteer roles like drivers, teachers, or daycare volunteers, background screenings are essential. Nonprofit and for profit organizations alike can always benefit from a reputable background screening company, so they can rest assured their volunteers and employees are safe, capable workers.
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