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What Is Going On With Volunteerism?

Published: Jul 26, 2022 @ 9:27 AM

As a team we have been seeing the stories in the news- ‘volunteer numbers down!’ ‘Festival desperate for volunteers!’ ‘Organization closing due to lack of volunteers!’ so we thought we would take a moment and share some things we are observing. 

We are not seeing a decline or an unusual spike in volunteer postings in any of our regions served. Instead, what we are seeing is a fast shift in volunteer interest - opportunities that are rooted in social justice or environment fill nearly instantly. Most opportunities take 2 weeks to fill but there is far more demand for social justice/environmental than there are opportunities out there. 

We can attribute these changes to a couple things:

  • Demographic shift- >30 years old is our largest user group, and we have seen a reduction in the over 65 folks. This has been an ongoing shift since 2019.
  • Increase in grassroots postings. The growth in volunteer postings from these types of organizations is up 30%. 

Our musings are that boomers are potentially relying on existing community connections for their volunteerism. Volunteers seem to have also shifted towards choosing roles that align with their interest and values rather than skills. Ultimately belonging is what volunteers are craving and the opportunities/organizations that are meeting that need that look different today than they did in 2019. 



Volunteering Is Belonging

Published: Feb 8, 2022 @ 2:52 PM

Volunteering has often been understood as "giving back" or "networking" or "skill development" but consider the word - BELONGING - and what that might mean to you.

From the report, An Anti-Racist Approach to Volunteering:

Volunteering and having your effort recognized gives participants a sense of belonging. When people feel valued, that value is reflected in the way they make meaning of their lives. This is important for personal growth and self-worth. Many participants indicate that volunteering is important for their mental health, and we need to consider the effects of removing these opportunities. When these opportunities are not available because of barriers, we are denying people the personal benefits that come from volunteering.