While American volunteer rates are declining, United Way is seeing a dramatic increase in volunteering, with more than double the rate of growth in volunteers compared to the U.S.’ and predicted increases next year, according to a new community leaders' survey by United Way Worldwide.
These results are a reflection of United Way's unique role in bringing together individuals, companies, government, labor, nonprofits, faith communities and more to create community solutions that drive lasting change and results in communities around the world.
In May 2014, United Way Worldwide’s research team surveyed 74 U.S. and international United Way CEOs. The survey found that:
America's volunteer rate is at its lowest point since the federal government started measuring this 12 years ago, down from 27.5% in 2002 to 25.4% in 2013. Despite the declining proportion of people volunteering, population growth still translated into a 9% gain in actual volunteers from 2002 through 2012. But United Way saw a 23.8% increase in volunteers in the same time period. And 73% of the global panel of United Way CEOs who responded predict volunteering will continue to rise in the next year.
The survey findings were released today as part of a report, Volunteering: The Force Multiplier For Community Change. Download the report at http://www.unitedway.org/volunteeringreport.
The report came right before United Way's annual worldwide day of volunteering, called Day of Action. Every June 21, United Way hosts hundreds of events across the world that bring thousands of people together to volunteer in their local communities. This Saturday, some 280 United Ways in all 50 states and 9 countries and territories will mobilize volunteers for projects focused on education, income and health.
As Brian A. Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide, put it, United Way brings people and organizations together to accelerate community change that goes beyond short-term charity. “United Way spotlights education, income and health because they’re building blocks for a good life and a strong community,” he said.
Here are other findings from United Way’s report on volunteering:
Tutoring struggling students is also critical, according to 62% of the United Way CEOs. Last year, 10% of volunteer activity in the U.S. was related to tutoring or teaching, with the top volunteer activities including: collecting, preparing, distributing or serving food, 11%, fundraising, 10%, general labor or transportation, 8%, serving on boards 7%.
Nationally, United Way has been working to recruit mentors, tutors and volunteer readers for struggling students. So far, more than 307,000 people have signed up at www.unitedway.org/volunteer.
About United Way
With more than 2.8 million volunteers and 9.7 million donors worldwide, and more than $5 billion raised every year, United Way is the world's largest privately-funded nonprofit. It is working in nearly 1,800 communities across 41 countries and territories to create community solutions that improve life for everyone. Across the world, United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, civic and faith organizations, as well as educators, labor, health organizations, government and more.