A nation of volunteers

Oct 04, 2010

As we log more and more volunteer hours among Amway employees and distributors, we clearly see a trend in volunteering across the US.

Last year 63.4 million Americans volunteered in their communities, according to the Volunteering in America 2010 study conducted by the Corporation for National & Community Service.

That’s up 1.6 million over 2008, the largest single-year increase in the number of volunteers since 2003. 

Those volunteers gave 8.1 billion hours in service last year.  To put that total in perspective, last year Americans volunteered 337.5 million days or 924,657 years to organizations.

Those hours were valued at $169 billion.

Most volunteers give their time to religious organizations (35.6 percent) or educational causes (26.6), but in the economic downturn, more volunteers served with social and community organizations than before (13.8 percent.)

They spend this time raising funds (26.6 percent), collecting or distributing food (23.5), providing labor or transportation (23.5 percent) or tutoring or teaching (19 percent.)

Who are these givers?  They are likely to be parents (34 percent) and women (34 percent of women volunteer compared to 23 percent of men.)   Baby boomers (nearly 30 percent) are more likely to volunteer than millennials (over 21 percent.) 

Homeowners volunteer more than those who rent or live in multiunit dwellings.  The more educated you are, the more likely you are to volunteer and the more hours you’re probably giving.   And if you have a long commute to and from work, you’re probably volunteering less time less often than your neighbor with a shorter journey.

When I take this back to the Amway world, my first inclination is to think that volunteering is probably picking up because people have more time and less money with the economic downturn.

Yet, over the past year, I’ve met a lot of IBOs who are working full-time jobs, building their Amway businesses, and still make the time to participate in volunteer events, even giving up nights and weekends, or driving long distances.

So what are you doing? How do you find a way to engage in your community?

Thanks to Beth Dornan for contributing to this post.

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