New Report: 1 in 4 Americans Volunteer but Engagement With Nonprofits Down
“The civic health of our country is strong when people trust and help their neighbors and engage with their government,” said Ilir Zherka, executive director of the National Conference on Citizenship. “Civic engagement is essential to the life our country. That's why all sectors of society from nonprofits, to businesses, to our government must redouble their efforts to promote greater connections among Americans.”
The research shows that overall rate of volunteering is slightly lower than the previous year yet remains strong and stable, and that Americans’ commitment to volunteering spans across generations. Key demographic highlights of the report include:
- Americans ages 35-44 had the highest volunteer rate (31.3 percent) followed by those age 45-54 (29.4 percent). One in five of those defined as “millennials”, those of ages 16-31, (21.7 percent) volunteered.
- The age groups with the highest median hours among volunteers are ages 65-74 (92 hours) and those 75 and older (90 hours).
- The volunteer rate of parents with children under age 18 (32.9 percent) remained higher than the population as a whole (25.4 percent) and for persons without children under 18 (22.7 percent).
- The volunteer rate among young adults (aged 18-24) attending college was 26.7 percent, nearly double the volunteer rate of young adults not attending college (13.5 percent).
“Every day, volunteers of all ages are giving their time and talents to solve problems and make our nation stronger,” Spencer said. “Whether tutoring students or connecting veterans to services or responding to natural disasters, Americans are doing extraordinary things to improve lives and strengthen communities. As they serve others, volunteers help themselves by learning new skills, increasing job prospects, and even improving their health.”
Last year, CNCS released Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment, research which found that unemployed individuals who volunteer over the next year have 27 percent higher odds of being employed at the end of the year than non-volunteers. Among rural volunteers and volunteers without a high school diploma, the likelihood increases by 55 and 51 percent, respectively.