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Most Americans Donít Plan to Increase Volunteerism - Survey Shows Volunteers Struggle to Find Opportunities


COLUMBUS, Ohio - More than half of the people polled say they wonít or are unsure if they will volunteer more in the coming year, with many saying itís because they canít find an opportunity thatís right for them. In 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 donít 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 wonít or arenít sure if they will volunteer more in the next year. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents say theyíre not sure if volunteers will be there to help them in the future.

ďWhile these numbers may seem discouraging, the data from our survey sheds light on a wonderful opportunity,Ē said Chad Jester, president of the Nationwide Foundation, the companyís philanthropic arm. ďItís encouraging to see that for nearly half of the respondents, the problem isnít apathy or disinterest, itís that they just havenít 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.Ē

Of the 42 percent of potential volunteers who indicate a failure to find the right opportunity, 18 percent say they canít find opportunities where they can make a difference; 17 percent say they canít find opportunities to use the skills they want to share; and 7 percent say they canít 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
Nationwideís Solution:

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 companyís 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 thatís right for you. Resources include:
Contact your local United Way chapter


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