Community service is an impressive mix of work and compassion, and it does far more than help a needy cause. These remarkable volunteer stats demonstrate the importance of community service work, including several benefits for volunteers, how volunteerism affects the workplace, and the economic impact of people giving back .
1. Volunteering makes you feel like you have more time.
Although most people believe they don’t have time to volunteer, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School recently found that people who serve others feel like they have time to spare. The study, which asked separate groups to help others or to do something else, showed that those who helped others felt more accomplished, and further, that they could do even more. Coauthor Cassie Mogilner concluded that “giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time-constrained” than spending your time otherwise.
2. Volunteering improves your health.
A United Healthcare/VolunteerMatch (UHVM) study found that volunteering positively influences people’s perceptions of their physical and emotional health. Additionally, the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) reviewed a large body of research and determined that community service work leads to lower mortality rates, greater physical capabilities, and improved mental health, particularly among Baby Boomer volunteers.
3. Volunteering increases your skills.
If individuals can’t practice certain skills in the workplace, a nonprofit could provide the opportunity. According to an article in The New York Times, many nonprofits utilize volunteers’ technical expertise, assigning them short-term projects that both assist the nonprofit and give volunteers valuable practice in new or more complex skills. The article suggests that such practice can even yield important endorsements or paid opportunities to apply the same skill.
4. Volunteering makes you more marketable.
Research shows that employers like candidates who demonstrate a commitment to community service work. CNCS determined that those who volunteer regularly have a 27% better chance of gaining employment. And, a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com found that 60% of hiring managers see volunteerism as a valuable asset, as it shows motivation, character, and integrity.
5. Education rates affect volunteer rates.
Research shows that areas with a higher education rate also have a higher volunteer rate, which results in an increased level of civic engagement and leadership. The Points of Light Institute (PLI) examined the social impact of volunteerism and found that not only does volunteering strengthen people’s ties to a community and promote further community service work, but it also increases their confidence in effecting change elsewhere in society.
6. Some community service work attracts more volunteers than others.
CNCS found that “collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food” was the activity most reported by volunteers, closely followed by tutoring, fundraising, and general labor. Men who volunteer devote themselves mainly to general labor (12.3%) or sporting activities (9.3%). Females who volunteer tend toward food service (12.9%) or education (10.6%).
7. Volunteers choose one organization – and stick to it.
Volunteers generally want to devote themselves to something they believe in, so it’s no surprise that, according to CNCS’s study, 72% of volunteers serve only one organization or cause. Only 18.3% of volunteers serve two organizations, and they typically have a higher level of education than those who serve only one.
8. Employers who promote community service cultivate happier workplaces.
The UHVM study found that people strengthen relationships among colleagues and with their employers when they volunteer through their workplace. Furthermore, they report a better evaluation of their personal well being. TheHuffington Post reviewed volunteering through the workplace, finding that such opportunities boost employees’ productivity, pride, gratitude, and ethics.
9. Volunteer time can and should be calculated.
PLI’s study found that “voluntary organizations are key players in the economy… adding to the overall economic output of the country.” By investing in skills of volunteers, voluntary organizations rely less on government funding and boost employability of those served. Furthermore, by engaging people in community service work, such organizations are cultivating more civic-minded communities, which compounds future benefits.
10. The value of volunteer time is greater than you think.
Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofit and corporate leaders committed to advancing the common good, estimates volunteer time at $23.56 per hour. This figure is a useful tool in recognizing the importance of community service work. Furthermore, it emphasizes the need for organizations to track not just the time their volunteers commit, but the type of skill, too. Accurate volunteer data could benefit an organization when applying for grants and completing annual financial forms.
This sample of volunteer statistics showcases the enormous impact of community service work, not just within the community but for the volunteer, too. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of accurately tracking volunteer numbers, time, and skills, as such information positively affects the volunteer, the organization, the cause, and the nation itself.
Looking for a way to track volunteer time and calculate your social impact? Check out how MobileServe can make tracking service time easy and make reporting on your social impact more accurate, or email us for more information.