Research

  1. New Research
  2. Nonprofits and Community Organizations
  3. Volunteer Retention
  4. Benefits of Volunteering and Participation in Civic Life
  5. Community Factors that Influence Volunteering
  6. More about the Volunteers Themselves
  7. Civic Health Research and Resources

New Research

Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment
New research from the Corporation for National and Community Service on the link between volunteering and employment provides the most compelling empirical evidence to date that unemployed individuals who volunteer increase the odds that they will get a job.
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Nonprofits and Community Organizations

Volunteering in America's Faith-Based Organizations (PDF 111 KB)
This document reviews some of the research from the Corporation for National and Community Service on the nexus of faith-based organizations in order to help guide the process of forming more effective collaborations. (released 2009)
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Volunteer Retention

The New Volunteer Workforce (PDF 315 KB)
This article highlights innovations in volunteer management and other strategies for retaining volunteers. (released 2009)
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Capitalizing on Volunteers' Skills: Volunteering in America by Occupation (PDF 426 KB)
The brief is designed to help broaden and deepen public and private sector partnerships, and allow nonprofits to take full advantage of the skills volunteers have to offer. (released 2009)
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Keeping Baby Boomers Volunteering (PDF)
This report focuses on important components of recruiting and retaining Baby Boomer volunteers.(released 2007)
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Volunteer Management Capacity Study, 2003 (243 KB PDF)
This report highlights the importance of establishing a strong volunteer support infrastructure for recruiting and retaining volunteers and provides a set of effective volunteer management practices. (released 2003)
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Benefits of Volunteering and Participation in Civic Life

Volunteering can make you healthier (PDF)
Not only is volunteering a good thing for communities, but it is also good for you. Read about how volunteering can be beneficial to your health. (released 2007)
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Civic Health and Unemployment II: The Case Builds (PDF)
This report, released by NCoC and its partners, explores the relationship between civic health and economic resilience. It finds that the density and type of nonprofit organizations in a community, as well as its social cohesion, are important predictors of that community’s ability to withstand unemployment in a recession. Read more here, and see the related 2011 brief.

Community Factors that Influence Volunteering

Shorter Commutes Leave Time for Service. (2.8 MB PDF) (2007)
This report uncovers what factors can influence a community’s volunteer rate. A variety of items, such as average commute times and average levels of education in a community, can help us predict and understand the level of service and volunteering in an area. (released 2007)
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More about the Volunteers Themselves

In 2007, 3.7 million volunteer caught the travel bug (PDF 356 KB)
Learn more about individuals who travel a considerable distance to volunteer in other parts of the country, what states have the highest percentages of travels, where they go, and what types of volunteering they do. (released 2008)
This report provides other interesting details of how volunteers and non-volunteers use their time. (released 2008)
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College Students are Twice as likely to Volunteer (PDF) (2006)
The College Students Helping America report presents data on student volunteers and their volunteering habits. (released 2007)
Teens, Baby Boomers, and older adults lead the way in volunteering (PDF) (2006)
This report provides volunteering levels for 1974, 1989, and current Volunteering in America data. (released 2006)
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Mentors Regularly Work Full-Time
This report focuses on mentors and looks at the characteristics and demographic factors of volunteers who mentor and other volunteers who do not mentor. (released 2006)
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Civic Health Research and Resources

NCoC provides research on a wide variety of topics related to civic health including civic learning, corporate citizenship, online engagement, political involvement, and social capital. Access these resources at www.ncoc.net/research.

NCoC collaborates with over 30 partners nationwide on civic health initiatives to create a deeper understanding of civic life, in order to generate dialogue and catalyze sustainable civic strategies. Read more about these partnerships and projects at www.ncoc.net/CHI.

The Civic Life component of this site is
in partnership with:

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Overview Statistics

This website is home to the most comprehensive look at volunteering and civic life in the United States. Data includes volunteer and civic engagement rates and rankings, trends, and demographics for the nation, 50 states and major cities across the country.

In 2013, one in four adults (25.4 percent) volunteered through an organization, demonstrating that volunteering remains an important activity for millions of Americans.

  • Altogether, 62.6 million Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours last year. Based on the Independent Sector's estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion.
  • More than 138 million Americans (62.5 percent) also engaged in "informal volunteering" in their communities, which includes helping neighbors with such tasks as watching each other's children, helping with shopping, or house sitting.
  • Two-thirds (68.5 percent) of Americans have dinner with their family virtually every day, while three in four (75.7 percent) see or hear from friends and family at least a few times a week, and more than a third (36.3 percent) are involved in a school, civic, recreational, religious, or other organization.
  • The top volunteer activities included fundraising or selling items to raise money (25.4%); collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (24.2 percent); providing transportation and general labor support (19.6 percent); tutoring and teaching youth (18 percent); mentoring youth (17.3 percent); and lending professional and management expertise (15 percent).
  • Volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers. Nearly eight in 10 (79.2 percent) volunteers donated to charity, compared to four in 10 (40.4 percent) of non-volunteers. Overall, half of all citizens (50.7 percent) donated at least $25 to charity in 2013.