April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month and here at The Whole U we wanted to take a minute to recognize all of those who give their time for the betterment of others by providing a snap shot of the state of volunteering in America.
According to the Corporation for National & Community Service (the Federal agency that administers programs like Americorps, Senior Corps, and the Social Innovation Fund), more than a quarter of Americans volunteered in their community last year, serving approximately 7.9 billion hours in a variety of roles. Based on current labor rates, that is an estimated contribution of $175 billion dollars in service!
Looking more closely at the data, we find that providing service hours to religious and educational groups represented about 60% of the total volunteering in the US last year, with support to social services, health, sports, and arts making up the bulk of the remainder. In terms of total hours per volunteer, Americans aged 65+ led the way with a median volunteer time of 90 hours in calendar year 2012. Americans aged 35-44, however, worked the highest percentage of the total hours served, representing 15.5% of all volunteering in America that year.
Our state ranks 9th in the nation for the percentage of residents who volunteer with a whopping 34.5% contributing 254 million hours of service to thousands of causes near and dear to our hearts. These efforts are worth over $5.6 billion to our organizations and institutions, so let’s keep up the excellent work!
Are you interested in finding a way to serve your community? The United Way of King County has built a wonderful database to help match interested people with volunteer opportunities in their area. Just visit their website, enter in your zip code and a topic of interest, and you will be presented with an array of fantastic opportunities to give back to your community.
Whether you are a long-time volunteer or new to community service, The Whole U would love to hear about your experience with volunteering. Share your favorite places to volunteer in the comments below, and thank you for your service!