New Research Identfies Service Gap Between Interest and Activism
Washington, D.C. (February 6, 2009) — A Porter Novelli Styles survey reveals a significant service gap between Americans who say they are concerned about causes and those who are willing to volunteer their own time and energy to support them.
While more than 7 in 10 Americans indicate that a variety of causes are important to them — supporting health research for problem diseases, protecting the environment and improving schools among them — fewer than 1 in 5 have actively worked for betterment of these issues in the past 12 months. In fact, for most causes, only 1 in 10, or fewer Americans made personal efforts.
Importance of and Reported Time Donated to Specific Causes
Percent who report that they have donated time to each cause in the past 12 months, as well as who say it is a cause that is personally important to them.
IMPORTANT DONATED TIME TO GAP
Health research 70% 6% -64
(e.g., cancer, AIDS)
The environment 73% 10% -63
Improving schools 73% 17% -56
Literacy 64% 6% -58
Helping people 65% 12% -53
Feeding the hungry 59% 9% -50
Helping the poor 58% 8% -50
Mentoring youth 63% 17% -46
Helping the homeless 52% 7% -45
Volunteer care giving 46% 12% -34
These findings are particularly significant, in light of President Obama's recent call to service during his historic inauguration, and the record numbers of participants in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, illustrating the strong, initial answer to the President's call. Sustaining that momentum will require closing the gap between interest and activism.
President Obama's own story of community involvement has put activism in the sights of millions of young Americans' as a career path. This year, an unprecedented 19,000 graduates applied to Teach for America, making the nonprofit one of the largest hirers of college seniors — eclipsing big names like Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Accenture.