Volunteers struggle to find opportunities they want
Survey shows most Americans don’t plan to increase volunteerism
For Immediate Release
April 17, 2007
Mike Switzer 614.249.4092
Columbus, Ohio— As Americans observe National Volunteer Week, more than half say they won’t or are unsure if they will volunteer more in the coming year, with many saying it’s because they can’t find an opportunity that’s right for them, a new survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance shows. Nearly half of survey respondents acknowledge difficulty in finding opportunities that match their desire to make a difference, personal values or skill sets.
Fifty-seven percent, say they don’t have plans to volunteer more in the coming year, with nearly half, or 48 percent of all respondents describing themselves as currently not, or not very involved in the community. Generation X is the most unsure about its future plans, with 66 percent saying they won’t or aren’t sure if they will volunteer more in the next year. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents say they’re not sure if volunteers will be there to help them in the future.
“While these numbers may seem discouraging, the data from our survey sheds light on a wonderful opportunity,” said Chad Jester, president of the Nationwide Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm. “It’s encouraging to see that for nearly half of the respondents, the problem isn’t apathy or disinterest, it’s that they just haven’t found the right opportunity. If the nonprofit sector and employers can focus on marketing, developing and matching people to the right opportunities, we may be able to drive a substantial number of new volunteers into action.”
Of the 42 percent of potential volunteers who indicate a failure to find the right opportunity, 18 percent say they can’t find opportunities where they can make a difference; 17 percent say they can’t find opportunities to use the skills they want to share; and 7 percent say they can’t find opportunities that match their personal values.
Survey respondents said key factors in attracting them to a volunteer opportunity include:
• The ability to use personal skills
• The ability to support a cause that aligns with personal values
• The ability to make a personal connection
• The ability to make a difference
• The ability to work directly with people being served by the nonprofit
Nationwide created the On Your Side Volunteer Network for its associates in 2005. The program uses an interactive online tool and full-time volunteer specialists to match the company’s associates with opportunities that coincide with their personal passions, values and skill sets. The On Your Side Volunteer Network also offers rewards like paid time-off and the ability to earn grants for the nonprofit served. Currently more than 3,200 Nationwide associates have volunteered nearly 40,000 hours of time since the program launched two years ago.
Find a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you. Resources include:
• Contact your local United Way chapter
Results of the survey commissioned by Nationwide are based upon online interviews conducted among a national representative sample of 462 adults, comprised of 222 men and 240 women, 18 years of age and older. Interviews were conducted by Market Tools Corporation between February 2 and February 9, 2007. The margin of error is approximately plus or minus 4.56 percent. A summary of survey results is available upon request.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $158 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks #98 on the Fortune 100 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life, commercial insurance, administrative services, health management services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions and long-term savings plans. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
Nationwide, the Nationwide framemark and On Your Side are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. .