April is National Volunteer Month
Financial support is always welcome, but community organizations and charities need more than money to tackle the challenges they face and reach the goals they desire: They also need volunteers. As we celebrate National Volunteer Month, it’s important to recognize how essential volunteers are to the bedrock of our communities—and to our country.
How national volunteer month began
National Volunteer Month was created after the inaugural address President George H. W. Bush gave in 1989, where he invoked the vision of “a thousand points of light” and invited citizens to take action and serve their fellow citizens. The Points of Light Foundation was created, focusing on the essential contributions volunteers make. The foundation’s website has key resources for anyone looking to get more involved.
Volunteering in America: genders and generations
AmeriCorps, officially known as the Corporation for National and Community Service, provides demographics about America’s volunteers—though the date for the information isn’t included:
- Approximately 32.8 million men (roughly 26.5% of the male population) are volunteers, contributing about three billion hours of service. The financial value of their volunteer service is estimated at $72.4 billion.
- Approximately 44.6 million women (roughly 33.8 percent of the female population) are volunteers, contributing nearly four billion hours of service. The financial value of their volunteer service is estimated at $94.5 billion.
- Generation X has the largest percentage of volunteers at 36.4%, compared to 30.7% for Baby Boomers, 28.2% for Millennials, 26.1% for Generation Y, and 24.8 for the Silent Generation.
- Utah is the state with the highest volunteer ranking (51%), and Florida has the lowest (22.8%).
A news release from April 2021 reported that volunteer time calculated by the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute was valued at $28.54 an hour. It also reported that 66% of volunteers stopped volunteering—or decreased their time volunteering—during the pandemic.
How volunteering helps volunteers
As the pandemic (hopefully) goes away, some people may be reluctant to start volunteering again. However, volunteering has are many potential benefits that may help you move forward in post-pandemic. Some of these benefits include:
Connecting to your community and helping to make it a better place
Making new friends and contacts
Combatting depression, stress, anger, and anxiety
Providing a sense of purpose
Improving your physical health
Advancing your career
Learning valuable job skills
Gaining career experience
Volunteering as a pathway to employment
Where to find volunteer opportunities
There is such a great need for volunteers that the opportunities may seem countless. It may be difficult to decide what you want to do—and where. Fortunately, there are websites with databases designed to help match volunteers with organizations nearby that need their help. These include:
Points of Light
American Red Cross
An opportunity to say thank you
Whether you plan to take on new volunteer opportunities or not, recognize National Volunteer Month as the perfect opportunity to thank those who are volunteering their time and experience to help make our communities—and our country—better.
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This material was prepared by LPL Financial.
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