The global impact of volunteering cannot be overemphasized. As human beings, we depend on each other for survival, and volunteering is one way we can watch each other's back. As the facts about volunteering below show, there are over one billion volunteers globally, and they are the foundation of many good deeds in this world.
The adventure of volunteering has exposed the truth that there's more benefit in giving than receiving. Volunteers contribute vastly to charitable endeavors and nonprofit organizations and help them conduct their programs successfully. While at the same time, its proven less formal volunteering to help out in the community offers benefits for the volunteer and recipients.
Volunteering costs the individual time, but its overall benefits in the long run, both personally and in the community, outweigh the cost. And if we are to actualize our hope of making this world a better and safe place, we will both need the involvement of volunteers and should champion the positive impacts they help to create.
General facts about volunteering
#1 - There are over 1 billion volunteers worldwide1
This exceeds the number of unemployed people in six out of the ten most populous countries globally. Decision-makers need to understand the relationship between community resilience and volunteerism fully. Volunteer activities will play a part in collective and public wellbeing since we can find active volunteers in all communities.
#2 - The efforts of volunteers worldwide are equal to 109 million full-time workers1
This workforce of volunteers worldwide is almost three times the number of those employed in financial services and those working in extractive and mining industries more than five times over.
#3 - 70% of volunteer work does not involve any organization but happens informally between people in their communities 1
#4 - 57% of volunteer work worldwide is done by women1
#5 - 59% of informal volunteering around the world is done by women1
Individuals' involvement in society, religion, political participation, and membership in informal mutual assistance groups primarily influence this percentage. The gap between informal and formal volunteering seems even higher in non-industrialized countries.
The fact that women hold the highest share of volunteers at 57% and love to do so informally explains this. Much local volunteering is informal, spontaneous, and unmediated by an organization. It explores the power of human relationships to strengthen social solidarity and trust, which communities depend on in times of adversity.
Women easily form informal bonds with their neighborhood and are more likely to voluntarily perform nonprofitable activities like babysitting a neighbor's child, grocery shopping for friends, environmental cleanings, or community service.
In a mixed-sex group where someone has to volunteer their time for a nonprofitable task, a woman is more likely to volunteer than a man to ensure completed tasks. In single-sex groups, this changes, and men and women volunteer equally.
#6 - Only 30% of volunteering work globally is done through organizations1
This also occurs in local communities but not as much as in the informal, especially in lower-income countries. Formal volunteering is more likely to dispute traditional cultural roles and responsibilities with its restrictive policies and norms, which may discourage and limit the number of volunteers, explaining why this number is just 30%.
Volunteer Statistics in America
#7 - Approximately 25% of the American adult population are volunteers1
This percentage is declining. It was 28% between 2003 and 2005. Adults between the ages of 35-44 dominate this percentage and are more likely to be parents with children under 18. People are busy and often run businesses or work full time, leaving little or no time to seek a volunteer experience.
#8 - On average, people in America spend an average of 52 hours per year volunteering their time. 1
#9 - In 2016, Americans contributed $193 billion of their time volunteering in communities1
During this period, the value of volunteer time was $24.14 per hour. Most of this contribution went to the top four national volunteer activities: food collection and distribution, fundraising, general labor or transportation, and tutoring.
#10 - Despite Americans contributing $193 billion of their time to volunteering, the volunteer rate declined by 0.4% to 24.9% in 20161
It is unclear if this percentage will increase or not, considering the recent development in the economic downturn. As more people volunteer to help others, more people also focus on bettering their lives by working full time and furthering their career prospects.
#11 - People aged 35-44 are most likely to volunteer3
At this age, most people have attained a certain level of stability in their career, income, family, education, and professional skills that organizations, particularly in expert job areas, are more likely to volunteer.
#12 - People aged 20-24 are least likely to volunteer3
Between 20-24, most people are still looking for a level of stability in their income and might be working full time to build and raise their own families, so they might not offer their time or resources to non-profiting activities.
Single Organization Volunteering
#13 - 72% of volunteers in America are involved with only one organization4
People engage in nonprofitable activities during their spare time or with their surplus resources, and this is already demanding for people who are not full-time volunteers. Engaging in more than one organization can be too much to handle for them, and only a few who have enough time and resources to spare or full-time volunteers can afford to engage in more than one organization
#14 - 42.1% of American volunteers became volunteers with their main organization after being asked to volunteer4
They were primarily asked by someone already a member of the organization. This is almost the same percentage as people who got involved on their own by voluntarily approaching the organization.
Why people volunteer
#15 - 24.2% of volunteering activities in America are for food collection and distribution4
Topping the list of the top four volunteer programs, we find these activities commonly undertaken by community members and formally through hunger relief organizations. This activity ranges from packing, sorting, distributing, and providing food bank access to specialized skills like marketing, technology, or carpentry, thereby feeding 46 million people, including 12 million children and 7 million older adults.
#16 - 23.9% of volunteering activities in America are for fundraising4
A percentage increase is likely as long as organizations ensure that volunteers see and experience the real impact of their charity. Almost all charity organizations have a website as an easy way to receive donations. Digital channels also provide information about the benefits of their project
#17 - 17.9% of volunteering activities in America are for tutoring4
The American educational system also enables volunteering projects and provides volunteer opportunities in elementary, middle, high school, and college. You can do this one-on-one between tutors and students physically or virtually through the organization's website.
Where people volunteer
#18 - 34.1% of volunteering in America is done for religious organizations4
The majority of religious organizations are nonprofit and depend on volunteers to carry out their missions. Which often comes in the form of charity donations, hospital visitations, and related community services. People readily volunteer to work for what they believe in, which keeps the percentage increasing. As such, religious organizations continue to be key producers of volunteering experiences for individuals in the United States.
#19 - 26% of volunteering in America is done for educational organizations4
High school and college students tend to dominate more and gain volunteering experience from educational organizations. Volunteers with children under the age of 18 volunteer more in educational organizations than other organizations. Student activism has rolled over to government programs like the peace corps and even renewable energy non-profits.
When engaging with an official government organization, check for a .gov address to avoid fraudulent activity.
#20 - 14.9% of volunteering in America is done for social service organizations4
These organizations most times include the government, but sometimes the planning of the volunteer program is done by non-governmental organizations. The goal is to find a way to help families, groups; communities improve their state of living by providing income or social assistance, services for children and adults with developmental disabilities,
#21 - 7.3% of volunteering in America is done for health organizations4
This percentage is lesser because, in this situation, volunteer opportunities are mainly for medical practitioners and health workers because of their sensitivity to human life. Studies into facts about volunteering show that volunteers experience the benefits of greater life satisfaction and overall better health than non-volunteers.
Volunteering benefits: The numbers & facts
#22 - A 2020 UK study showed volunteering to have an equivalent wellbeing value of £911 per volunteer per year 5
This study answers the question, "does volunteering make people happier, or if happier people tend to volunteer more?" thereby addressing the issue of reverse causality when estimating the well being and physical health impacts of volunteering
#23 - In one survey, 93% of volunteers reported that they enjoyed it6
Many people enjoy the overall volunteering experience because they tend to travel to different cities or countries, mingle with different people, explore different cultures, and increase their knowledge about the different walks of life. This feeling of enjoyment also helps improve their own physical health.
Volunteering contributes to a sense of personal achievement
#24 - In one survey, 90% of volunteers reported a sense of personal achievement6
Volunteering makes people feel fulfilled, exposes you to job opportunities you didn't know about, develops social and professional skills, boosts your self-esteem, and advances your career by improving job prospects. Many older people who volunteer say volunteering helps them feel important to society.
#25 - In one survey, 90% of volunteers reported a sense of personal achievement6
#26 - In one survey, 90% of volunteers reported feeling that they made a difference6
As these facts about volunteering show, apart from going about their daily business, people still look to make a difference in the community where they live and contribute to society's growth and wellbeing by participating in any volunteering project in their workplace or community.
Improving mental health and wellbeing
#27 - 77% of volunteers in one survey agreed that volunteering improved their mental health and wellbeing 6
ICM research from 2004 shows that almost half of all volunteers reported that volunteering helps improve their physical health and fitness. 22% of volunteers aged 18-24 say volunteering helps them cut down on alcohol, and smokers within the same age also say volunteering makes them smoke less.
#28 - 68% of volunteers in one survey agreed that volunteering helped them feel less isolated 6
This is even higher among young volunteers, with the volunteer data profile showing that 25-34-year-olds have 76%, and 18-24 have 77%. By being part of a team with a common goal, they bond with strangers, increase their social interactions and combat the depression that comes with isolation. It also nurtures their sense of belonging and purpose and expands their support system.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Volunteering in the United States, 2015
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Volunteering in the United States, 2015
3 NCVO, What are the Demographics of Volunteers? 2018/2019
4 Americorps, Volunteering in America
5 Ricky N. Lawton, Iulian Gramatki, Will Watt & Daniel Fujiwara, 2020. Does Volunteering Make Us Happier, or Are Happier People More Likely to Volunteer?
6 NCVO, 2020. What are the Benefits of Volunteering?
6 NCVO, 2020. What are the Benefits of Volunteering?
What are the statistics around volunteering? ›
Around 30.3% of Americans volunteer.
Approximately one-third of adult Americans formally volunteer at least once a year. Moreover, 35.97% of the time spent volunteering is dedicated to fundraising. Finally, 34.22% of volunteering activity goes to collecting, prepping, or distributing food (34.22%).
Volunteers, on average, spend 50 hours per year donating their time to the greater good. Over 71% of volunteers work with only one organization each year. 67% of people found volunteer opportunities online in 2014 vs 34% in 2006.What are the 8 advantages of volunteering? ›
- Make new friends. ...
- Build your network. ...
- Expand your resume. ...
- Improve your confidence. ...
- Develop emotional stability. ...
- Feel happier. ...
- Learn something new. ...
- Explore your interests.
Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it's especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants.What is the biggest challenge in volunteering? ›
The most common issues and challenges for volunteering include being overworked, undervalued and stressed. If your organisation is facing a high turnover rate, it might be time to conduct a volunteer survey to identify any common themes or issues and begin fixing them.What's the most important thing about doing volunteer? ›
Volunteering builds self-confidence and self-esteem
And working as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity, helping to boost your self-confidence further by taking you out of your natural comfort zone and environment.
Gaining career experience
Volunteering offers you the chance to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It is also a great way to gain experience in a new field. In some fields, you can volunteer directly at an organization that does the kind of work you're interested in.
Research by Carnegie Mellon University found that older adults who volunteer at least 200 hours each year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure. These findings aren't surprising because increased physical activity and decreased stress all contribute to a healthy heart.What are the 5 core values of a volunteer? ›
- Care about them.
- Let them know they are valued.
- Provide opportunities for them to make decisions and try out ideas.
- Show confidence in their ability.
- Help them develop new skills;
desire of excellence. doing a good job. needing a sense of important accomplishment. wanting to change/advance career/get a job.
What are 5 benefits of volunteer work as it relates to careers? ›
- Trying out different industries. ...
- Learning new skills. ...
- Networking. ...
- Keeping yourself grounded. ...
- Gaining experience.
Each of the six motivational functions for volunteering are described: values, understanding, social, career, protective, and enhancement.What are two perks of volunteering? ›
- Improves physical and mental health. Volunteer activities keep people moving and thinking at the same time. ...
- Provides a sense of purpose and teaches valuable skills. ...
- Nurture new and existing relationships.
“It has been shown to decrease stress levels, depression, anxiety and boost your overall health and satisfaction with life.” Dr. Albers said when you help other people, it activates the reward center in your brain and releases serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.Who is most likely to volunteer? ›
According to a 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, the group most likely to volunteer are people aged 65 and older. People aged 15–24, which includes most high schoolers, volunteer about half as often as their 65 and older counterparts.What are the 3 Ts of volunteering? ›
Treasure. Time. The gift of selflessly volunteering can be as simple as shopping for another, stuffing envelopes, collecting needed items, or even volunteering at a one-time event.What is a weakness in volunteering? ›
Weaknesses. There are no clear-cut strategic plans or directions. Administration changes affect volunteer focus or continuity. Volunteers have limited roles to influence. Too few volunteers carry the load for many.What do volunteers suffer less from? ›
They found that volunteers had lower rates of depression, an increased sense of well-being, and a 22 per cent reduction in the chances of dying within the next seven years.What lessons can you learn from volunteering? ›
Developing new skills, discovering new passions, gaining new insights about yourself and the world around you - volunteering covers it all. Volunteering can mean learning about different communities, organizations, and fields, as well as learning more about yourself.What are the pros and cons of volunteering? ›
Cons of being a volunteer
- Compensation. ...
- Cost. ...
- Personality conflicts. ...
- Longer hours. ...
- Homesickness. ...
- Emotional energy. ...
- Lack of structure.
What are the 7 elements of volunteerism? ›
The mission of 7 Elements is to collaborate with global and local organizations to learn about and try to help improve access to the seven human securities: economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political.What are the 7 habits of highly effective volunteers? ›
The habits include: (1) be proactive; (2) begin with the end in mind; (3) put first things first; (4) think “win-win”; (5) synergize; (6) seek first to understand, then to be understood; and (7) sharpen the saw.What are the 3 main characteristics of volunteer? ›
- Passion: Passion can be infectious, so it's an important trait that all great volunteers must share. ...
- Reliability: There's nothing worse than depending on someone to do something and then having them fall through on their commitment. ...
- Integrity: ...
- Team Player: ...
- Offer flexible volunteer assignments.
- Be specific.
- Offer support and training for volunteers.
- Highlight the impact of volunteers.
- Feature your volunteers on social media.
- Recruit through your current volunteers.
- Post the volunteering opportunity online.
Volunteering is important for communities because it supports organizations to provide vital services to groups and individuals within the community. Often, funding for community services is limited and organizations must rely on volunteers to successfully deliver their services.What's another word for volunteering? ›
stand up. submit oneself. take bull by the horns. take initiative. take the plunge.What are 4 ways to volunteer in a community? ›
- Local Library. ...
- Public Media Production. ...
- Community Arts Center. ...
- Hospital or Medical Center. ...
- School District. ...
- Political Campaign. ...
- Animal Shelter. ...
- Food Bank.
Volunteering reflects our values – what we care about, our vision for our community, our notion of justice, and our sense of responsibility for the planet and all those with whom we share it.What do volunteers value? ›
Volunteering is not about money. Volunteering is about giving, contributing, and helping other individuals and the community at large. It is working with others to make a meaningful contribution to a better community.Why are volunteers special? ›
They show us that everything you do has an impact, and you can change the world with even the simplest act of kindness. Their passion is infectious and motivates us to always do our best. Our volunteers love what they do, and share their passion with everyone they meet. Their dedication and zeal inspires us every day.
What are the stats of voluntourism? ›
According to Save the Children, voluntourism is one of the fastest-growing travel trends, with 1.6 million people volunteering overseas each year, in a sector worth an estimated AU$2.6 billion annually. It's big business for travel companies and, in some cases, unscrupulous operators.Does volunteering make you happy statistics? ›
A recent study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that people who volunteer are happier than those who do not. Every two years from 1996 to 2014, researchers took data from nearly 70,000 research participants about their volunteering habits, mental health, levels of stress, and daily mood.What is the success of volunteering? ›
The greatest benefits of volunteering are often those enjoyed by the person giving their time. Volunteer roles can help you develop new skills, expand your networks and improve your overall health. Read on to learn how volunteering could transform your career.What is an example of volunteer bias in statistics? ›
Examples of Volunteer Bias
In this study, over 100,000 nurses were surveyed across the country. The study incorrectly suggested that if women who had gone through menopause used Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), they could decrease their risk of heart disease by a staggering 50 percent.
Volunteer Statistics By Race
The most common ethnicity among volunteers is White, which makes up 52.5% of all volunteers.
India has the largest volunteer army in the world. It means that many people in our country voluntarily want to be a part of Indian Army and serve and protect the country. Q. Which country had the largest army in the world before WWI?Has volunteering increased or decreased? ›
The percentage of respondents who reported volunteering time, however, fell to 56 percent in 2021, continuing a downward trend from 65 percent in 2013, 64 percent in 2017, and 58 percent in 2020.