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The Compassion Boom? ‘Volunteering in America’ Says So

July 28, 2009

Even during the past few months of economic recession, volunteering has remained steady, fueled by what’s being called a ‘compassion boom’ led by young adults, a wave of do-it-yourself volunteers and of course… AmeriCorps members and alums working with their neighbors to fix problems.

The Corporation for National and Community Service JUST released Volunteering in America 2009 this morning!  It includes the most comprehensive data on volunteering trends and demographics ever assembled, including profiles of volunteering in all 50 states, Washington DC, and nearly 200 cities.

You can also visit Serve.gov for a video about the research featuring Corporation Acting CEO Nicola Goren.   The report is already being featured on the front page of USA Today, in the Washington Post, and the Associated Press.   We encourage you to read the research to better understand volunteering trends and demographics in your area and to use the data to develop effective strategies for recruiting and retaining volunteers to tackle key challenges.

“In this time of economic distress, we need service and volunteering more than ever to build a new foundation for growth,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “This report suggests that Americans are responding to the hardship around them by reaching out in service to others, giving their time when they cannot give their money.  It reminds us of the generosity of the American spirit, and challenges us to work harder to make service part of the daily life of every American.”

The report also cites a 217 percent increase in applications to AmeriCorps over the past 8 months!

Key State and City Findings

  • For the fourth year in a row, Utah was the top volunteer state with a volunteer rate 43.5%, followed by Nebraska (38.9%), Minnesota (38.4%), Alaska (38%), and Iowa (37.1%).
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul once again ranked number one among large cities at 38.4%, followed by Portland, OR (36.7%), Salt Lake City, UT (36.5%), Seattle, WA (34.3%), and Kansas City, MO (33.4%).
  • Mid-size cities, particularly those in the Midwest, have on average higher volunteer rates than large cities, and residents of mid-size cities contribute more hours to volunteering.
  • In the second annual look at volunteering in 75 mid-sized cities, Provo, Utah, again led the nation with a whopping 62.9 percent volunteer rate, followed by Iowa City (42.9%), Ogden, UT (43.6%), Madison, WI (41.5%), and Topeka, KS (40.7%).
  • Although women are more likely than men to be volunteers – in fact, working mothers have the highest volunteer rates of all – men are more likely to participate in their community in less formal ways.

Get ALL the info here!

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