Webinar Recap: A New Appreciation for Data with the Corporation for National and Community Service

Our latest Nonprofit Insights webinar was an intense one! Dr. Christopher Spera and Anthony Nerino of The Corporation for National and Community Service joined our president Greg Baldwin for a fascinating discussion on new statistics about volunteering in America. We dived deep into data from the Volunteering and Civic Life in America 2012 (VCLA 2012) study to explore who is volunteering in America and what that means for volunteer engagement.

This was a chance to see, in numbers, how Americans are volunteering, where they are and who is most involved. We learned some fascinating statistics, and our audience had the opportunity to ask some very applicable questions and discuss how to apply this new info to their own volunteer engagement strategies.

Looking at the Numbers

Parents: Data Infographic
The Corporation for National and Community Service makes volunteering statistics engaging and relevant for organizations. (infographic provided by VCLA 2012 website)

The VCLA 2012 study presented some fascinating numbers relating to different demographics, regions and service categories in America:

  • According to the research, 35 to 44 year-olds volunteer the most.
  • Older people tend to volunteer more with religious organizations than any others.
  • College graduates and employed individuals volunteer more than unemployed people
  • Young people volunteer mostly in youth and educational organizations.

While we often think of numbers as boring and not very personal, Dr. Spera and Mr. Nerino taught us just how important looking at the statistics can be. Because we usually think about how we can engage volunteers, it was helpful to look at the numbers for more directed insights. Greg Baldwin did a great job as mediator, asking questions about the VCLA 2012 facts and engaging the two Corporation speakers on how such data could be relevant to organizations.

Applying Stats to Volunteer Engagement: What Do They Mean for Your Organization?

  • Did you know that one of the most active volunteering demographics is parents with younger children? Mothers especially have the highest rates of volunteer engagement, and this group tends to focus on education and religious opportunities. Perhaps you could consider offering child care at your next charity or school volunteer day.
  • Another interesting fact is that rural residents volunteer the most, with suburban residents a close second. Why do you think that people living in cities volunteer the least? One hypothesis is that urban residents have to worry more about transportation to and from volunteer opportunities. Perhaps providing a shuttle service to volunteering events or bus vouchers could entice more people to volunteer.

Ideas like these kept coming up as our presenters reviewed the VCLA 2012 data. Our audience was also curious to know the “why” behind some of these fascinating numbers and seemed to take away some applicable theories of their own. All of us found a new appreciation for numbers after this webinar, as well as a better understanding of what they mean for volunteer engagement.

Want to learn more about the Volunteering and Civic Life in America 2012 study and the Corporation for National and Community Service? Visit the VCLA 2012 website, watch our webinar on Youtube, or view and download the webinar slides from Slideshare.

Don’t miss our next Nonprofit Insights Webinar, How to Solve Global Problems with Local Engagement, coming up May 29th. We will be speaking with Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) about how local organizations can fight global issues like hunger with volunteer engagement. Register today!

Stephanie Rosenburg is a Communications & Social Media Intern at VolunteerMatch. You can reach her at srosenburg@volunteermatch.org and follow her at @smrosenburg.