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The Average Volunteer

February 2, 2007

Approximately 65.4 million people volunteered in the United States between September 2004 and September 2005 according to the most recent volunteer survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data from the survey indicates that the “average” volunteer is “a white woman, between the ages of 35 to 54 years old, married who works part-time, and volunteers for a religious or an educational or youth service organization.” How many of your volunteers are average? (Source: United Way of Snohomish County http://www.uwsc.org/VolCtrNewsJan06.pdf)

Well, it is nice to  know I am not average! I’m not a person who is usually that interested in statistics, but I found these interesting, probably because of my interest in finding some place to serve, give, and share of myself. It wasn’t just the most average volunteer that I found interesting, but also the least “average” which is a Hispanic man in his late teens or early twenties who has never been married, has no children, has little education and is unemployed or not in the labor force.

Volunteers gave a median average of 52 hours a year (1 hour per week). Men volunteered a few more hours a year than women. Most volunteers serve in only one or two organizations, although those with higher education are more likely to volunteer for multiple organizations. Religious organizations are the most common places to volunteer, followed by educational/youth oriented organizations. About 43 percent of volunteers serve because they are asked to, and around 40 percent serve based on their own initiative.

Are you part of the 65.4 million people? Are you doing something to give of yourself to others? Are you waiting for someone to ask you, or is there someplace you could share even an hour a week?

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