As a volunteer manager or coordinator, you likely use your nonprofit’s supporter data to continually improve your program and recruit new volunteers. However, it can also be helpful to zoom out and look at the big picture of the current state of volunteering in the United States and across the world.
Reviewing big-picture data can reveal how your organization stacks up compared to sector trends. These trends can also have positive or negative implications for your organization’s volunteer management strategies.
In this post, we’ll review the most important volunteering statistics from a variety of angles, including:
- General volunteer statistics
- Corporate volunteer statistics
- Volunteering during COVID-19 statistics
- Benefits of volunteering statistics
Whether you’re looking for hard data to encourage people to join your program, building a case to justify an increase in funding, or just interested in learning more about volunteering, this article is for you. Let’s get started!
General volunteer statistics
Volunteerism is ingrained in many cultures worldwide, and there are always people in every community who need a helping hand. People face a variety of challenges, from climate change to food insecurity, poverty, disease, and other threats. Volunteerism seeks to mitigate these challenges by providing support for nonprofit programs and projects.
Here are some volunteer statistics that provide a broad overview of the current state of volunteering in the United States and around the world:
- Approximately 23.2% of Americans (more than 60.7 million people) formally volunteered with organizations between September 2020 and 2021 (AmeriCorps).
- 85% of volunteers donate to the nonprofits they volunteer for (Global Trends in Giving Report).
- The current value of an hour of volunteer time is $29.95 (Independent Sector).
- Most volunteer work is informal. 14.3 percent of the global population participated in informal volunteering in 2022, while 6.5 percent of working-age people worldwide engage in formal volunteering via an organization or association (State of the World’s Volunteerism Report).
- Women volunteer at a higher rate than men (AmeriCorps).
- 35% of respondents to a 7,000-person volunteer survey said one of the reasons they volunteer is to socialize (Sterling Volunteers).
- The greatest challenge in the eyes of volunteer managers is recruitment. 32% of volunteer coordinators surveyed said recruitment was their organization’s greatest roadblock (VolunteerPro).
- Utah is the U.S. state with the highest percentage of volunteers (United States Census Bureau).
Corporate volunteer statistics
Corporate volunteering is an employer-supported volunteering program that encourages staff members to donate their time to a good cause in their community. Corporations often offer volunteer time off (VTO), which is paid time off for employees to spend volunteering.
This type of volunteering enhances teamwork and collaboration among employees and can even help them learn new skills. At the same time, corporate volunteerism provides many advantages to nonprofit organizations as well. These organizations receive not only support for their volunteer programs but also monetary support in the form of volunteer grants. Volunteer grants are donations that businesses make to nonprofits after their employees have volunteered a certain number of hours with those organizations.
Here are a few statistics that reveal the positive impact of corporate volunteerism:
- 77% of nonprofits say they believe that skilled volunteers can significantly improve their organization’s business practices (Deloitte Impact Survey).
- 89% of working Americans believe that companies that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment than those that don’t (Deloitte Impact Survey).
- 40% of Fortune 500 companies offer volunteer grant programs (Double the Donation).
- Almost 60% of companies provide paid time off (PTO) for employees to volunteer (America’s Charities).
- The average corporate volunteer participation rate is 33% (2019 CECP Giving in Numbers Report).
- Around 25% of companies tie skills-based volunteering to an employee’s professional development plan and 21% say they plan to make this connection in the future (America’s Charities).
Volunteering during COVID-19 statistics
COVID-19 may have paused many in-person volunteer opportunities, but the interest and support for volunteering remained. The pandemic opened new opportunities for virtual volunteering, allowing volunteers to continue their passion for volunteering while staying safe.
Amid the pandemic, volunteers continued to demonstrate an exceptional display of solidarity and support for their communities. Many volunteers stepped up to help out during these difficult times, and they brought enormous value at a very low cost.
Here are some COVID-19-related volunteer statistics:
- The International Red Cross saw a major boost in volunteerism in 2020, with hundreds of thousands of new volunteers (United Nations).
- LinkedIn users added about 2.5 times the amount of volunteer experiences to their profiles in 2020 as they did in 2017 (LinkedIn).
- Google Trends illuminated a major increase in searches for the term “virtual volunteering” starting in March 2020 (Google).
Benefits of volunteering statistics
You may have heard about the health benefits of volunteering, such as improvements in mental health. Studies show that volunteering helps individuals feel more socially connected and reduces feelings of loneliness and depression. Many people who choose to volunteer are also rewarded with improvements in physical health, lower blood pressure, and longer lifespans!
These volunteering statistics clearly highlight the valuable health advantages of volunteering:
- A study by Yeung, Zhang, and Kim, researchers from the Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, found that volunteering led to an 8.54% increase in mental health, 9.08% increase in physical health, 7.35% increase in life satisfaction, 11.11% increase in social well-being, and 4.30% decrease in depression (BMC Public Health)
- One study found that older adults who volunteered with two or more organizations experienced 44% lower mortality rates over a five-year period than those elderly persons who did not volunteer (Corporation for National and Community Service).
- Research published in 2020 determined that volunteering can actually increase happiness and improve well-being over time (Journal of Happiness Studies).
The volunteer sector will continue evolving as it recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several elements have remained steady even before the pandemic, such as the enduring health benefits of participating in volunteer activities and the growth of corporate volunteerism. Understanding these trends will help you develop your program based on nationwide and worldwide volunteer tendencies.