Posts tagged ‘National Volunteer Week’

January 19, 2018

Charitable Giving Threatened by Drop In Volunteerism

On Monday, the USA celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national day of service. From April 15 to 21, the nation will mark National Volunteer Week. Clearly, Americans value volunteerism.

Unfortunately, the volunteerism rate has been steadily declining for years. This trend has disturbing implications for philanthropy.

In 2003, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 28.8 percent of Americans volunteered. By 2015, that rate had steadily fallen to 24.9 percent. This is a huge problem for the nonprofit sector for a number of reasons:

Volunteers Provide a Valuable Resource. Volunteers do a great deal of work that might not be done otherwise. 62.6 million Americans volunteered 7.8 billion hours. Independent Sector reports that a volunteer hour is worth $24.14, over $180 billion of total estimated value. Sadly, with volunteerism on the decline, charities are forced to provide fewer services or incur greater labor costs.

Volunteers Serve as Ambassadors. In addition to being a valuable labor resource, volunteers are also fantastic ambassadors for an organization. The typical volunteer serves only one or two organizations, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. When volunteers share their experiences, they also talk with friends, family, and professional colleagues about your organization and its mission. This could lead to additional volunteer and philanthropic support. With a drop in volunteerism, there are now fewer ambassadors for charities, which will inevitably lead to less future support.

Volunteers are More Likely to Donate. Volunteers are twice as likely as non-volunteers to make a charitable contribution, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Even planned giving is affected by volunteerism. As I’ve reported previously, researcher Russell James, JD, PhD, CFP states in his book, American Charitable Bequest Demographics (1992-2012):

Among those with [estate] planning documents, those who both volunteer and give ($500+) are dramatically more likely to plan a charitable estate gift than those who only volunteer or only give ($500+). Those who only volunteer, plan charitable estate gifts at approximately the same rate as those who only give.”

Those who only volunteer or only donate ($500+) are more than twice as likely to make a legacy gift than those who do neither. [For a free electronic copy of James’ book, subscribe to this blog site in the right-hand column. You’ll receive an email confirmation of your subscription that will contain a link to the book.]

With a decline in volunteerism, we can expect fewer people to make current and planned gifts. This is already happening according to an analysis by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

There are many likely reasons for the decline in volunteerism including:

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April 14, 2011

National Child Abuse Prevention Month: What are You Doing to Help?

This is National Volunteer Week (April 10-16) in the United States. Among American adults, 26 percent volunteer, according to a new report from the Corporation for National and Community Service. This is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the U.S. So, my blog post this week is dedicated to those two occasions.

I serve a number of nonprofit organizations as a volunteer. I almost always receive back more than I give. Volunteering allows me to make a difference, allows me to engage with the organizations I donate to, allows me to better understand the organizations I support. For the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance (PCA), I sit on the board of directors. PCA brings justice and healing to the victims of child sexual abuse.

Percentage of Children Sexually Abused

Did you know that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control? Did you know that the vast majority of these child victims will be sexually abused by someone they know?

I did not know any of this before serving as juror for a child sex abuse case a number of years ago. Like most people, I thought that the sexual abuse of children was rare. Based mostly on occasional news coverage, I assumed that the perpetrators were predator-strangers or religious leaders. However, during the course of the trial I learned a great deal. I learned that one in five children are sexually abused before reaching adulthood. I learned that those closest to children are more likely to be the abusers since they are the ones with access; in the court case I heard, we eventually found step-granddad guilty. Following the trial, I did a fair amount of research on the subject and eventually found my way to PCA.

Here are some of the haunting words that PCA staff have heard from just three of the children they have served:

“He said that if I told anyone he’d kill my sister.  So if I told and she died it would be all my fault.”

“I love my dad, and I don’t want him to go to jail. I just want him to stop doing that to me.”

“I just want to be like a normal kid.”

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