Friday, February 5, 2010

Washington among the best states for volunteering in 2008

The new "Volunteering In America" report is out for 2010, including volunteer statistics through 2008. It shows some interesting trends. Washington state, meanwhile, continues to rank among the top places for volunteer service in the country. Good work, Washington!

A few nuggets from the report:

  • Washington state has 1.7 million volunteers who contribute 240 million hours of service per year, worth $4.8 billion. This is just a hair more than was reported last year; however, due to population increases, the per-person contribution dropped slightly to 47.4 hours per resident. This puts us 5th in the nation!
  • 33.7% of adults volunteered in Washington in 2008.
  • Washington especially excels at young adult volunteerism, with a participation rate of 30.8% in the age 16-24 category--second only to Utah. Our rate of teen volunteerism (ages 16-19) is a whopping 41.2%, third behind Utah and (barely) Vermont and 15% higher than the national average.
  • Our volunteer retention rate has jumped from 71.6% last year to 75.2% this year, now 3rd-best in the nation.
  • Seattle has 918,700 volunteers, with an adult volunteer rate of 34.3%, 4th among the nation's 51 largest cities (behind Minneapolis, Portland, and Salt Lake City), and a contribution of 45 hours per resident, 6th in the nation. Both of these rates have slipped slightly over last year.
  • Olympia, with 94,000 volunteers, has an impressive volunteer rate of 43.5%. Tacoma, unfortunately, was not among the 126 cities studied.
  • Nationwide, the volunteer rate has held relatively constant despite economic challenges. In 2008, 61.8 million volunteers donated 8 billion hours of service.
  • New research shows that college students, compared to the general population, are more likely to be episodic or occasional volunteers. The volunteer rate among adults today is higher than it has been in previous decades. More and more people are traveling considerable distances to volunteer, either in response to special needs or as part of "volunteer vacations." And finally, Volunteering can make you healthier! Even one to two hours per week can lead to better physical and mental health, especially for those ages 60 or older.

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