4/14/2014 - Volunteering a focus for millions of Americans
Whether it's helping clean up the town cemetery or volunteering at a soup kitchen, a substantial number of Americans say that they make giving back a priority in their lives.
More than one-quarter of adults in the U.S. - 26.5% - volunteered in some capacity during 2012, according to a new report conducted jointly by the National Conference on Citizenship and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Additionally, an estimated 64.5 million Americans made themselves available, knowing full well that they wouldn't be compensated, putting in nearly 8 billion hours of work and assistance services.
"Volunteering is a core American value," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. "Americans who volunteer enrich our communities and keep our nation strong. As citizens, there are so many ways we can make a difference for those who are in need."
Ilir Zherka, executive director of NCoC, added that it's clear that many people see volunteering as being a civic duty. Because of this - and the services that are rendered - America is a stronger, more prosperous place.
Though they may not be considered to be the first type of people who readily make their services available, young adults are volunteering at a higher level, according to the report. Among teenagers, the volunteer rate has risen 3% since 2007.
"But volunteering goes beyond helping other people; studies have shown that the volunteers themselves benefit, whether through increased job prospects, better health, or even better overall well-being," said Spencer.
Many company managers may make volunteer opportunities available for their workers. To err on the side of caution, entrepreneurs may want to review their businessowners insurance plan to see if they need to adjust their policy, as if there is an accident or injury, some individuals who aren't paid may not be covered, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.