Volunteer Statistics & Trends

Volunteering Statistics & Trends For Nonprofits

Volunteering Statistics & Trends For Nonprofits

Inclind Writer | 2024-02-20

If you run a nonprofit organization, then you are probably familiar with the importance of volunteers. They often provide countless hours of work that enable your organization to fulfill its mission. Volunteering also has benefits for volunteers - like having a better sense of purpose in life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a decrease in the number of people who participated in volunteering. However, given the benefits of volunteerism to both individuals and nonprofits, it is important to find a way to increase these numbers. Having volunteer opportunities listed on your website - and perhaps even a volunteer application - can make the process easier for potential supporters.

Inclind works with nonprofits throughout the United States to provide high-quality nonprofit website design and development services. We understand that nonprofits have unique needs, such as adding a “donate now” button to various pages to maximize donations. We can also help you create a website that truly appeals to prospective volunteers - and helps you get more people to give their time and energy to your cause.

Why Are Volunteers So Important for Nonprofits?

Many nonprofit organizations run on a shoestring budget (at best!). Even with a more generous budget, charitable organizations are devoted to their mission - which means that they typically want to put as much money as possible toward their cause. This often results in having a relatively small staff - or even no paid employees.

Nonprofit organizations typically bridge this gap with volunteers. This may include everything from board members (usually unpaid) to committee members to people answering phones or taking dogs for walks. Without volunteers, many nonprofits could not serve clients, run their programs, or raise funds.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), nonprofits with robust volunteer programs are far more likely to expand their programs and services. In turn, this can lead to serving a larger number of beneficiaries. For example, a childhood literacy nonprofit that relies on volunteers to read with kids can serve far more students than it could if it had to use its paid staff exclusively.

This same study found that between 2020 and 2021, 60.7 million people provided 4.1 billion volunteer hours to organizations in the United States. These hours had an estimated economic value of $122.9 billion - which is money that nonprofits can put towards programs and services instead of payroll.

Nonprofits with engaged volunteers also have an increased ability to fulfill their mission and tackle complex issues. This comes from the hours that volunteers put in but also their dedication to the cause. For example, an environmental nonprofit may see a boost in awareness about a particular issue - such as pollution at a local park - when their volunteers talk to others about their work and/or share on social media.

These volunteers may also help nonprofits improve their fundraising efforts. When an organization has dedicated volunteers, cultivating strong relationships with donors through sharing stories and experiences is often easier. They can also reach out to their networks to encourage people to financially support the organization.

Volunteerism can also enhance a nonprofit’s image. When a nonprofit has volunteers, it shows a sense of community engagement. It also creates a perception that many people care about, trust, and support the organization - which can all boost public image.

Nonprofit Volunteering Trends and Statistics

While volunteering is incredibly important, getting enough people to volunteer is still a challenge for many nonprofits. This is particularly true since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to statistics, formal volunteering dropped more than 23% between 2019 and 2021.

While formal volunteering may have decreased during this time period, the rate of Americans informally helping others remained stable. Between 2020 and 2021, 51% of Americans - or 124.7 million people - informally helped their friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors.

States & Demographics With The Highest Formal Volunteer Participation

When it comes to formal volunteering, some states had much higher rates of participation. The top 10 states for volunteering in 2021 were:

  1. Utah: 40.7%
  2. Wyoming: 39.2%
  3. Minnesota: 35.5%
  4. Maine: 34.9%
  5. District of Columbia: 34.2%
  6. South Dakota: 34.2%
  7. Nebraska: 33.9%
  8. Kansas: 31.5%
  9. Montana: 31.1%
  10. Missouri: 30.5%

Generally, women tend to engage in formal volunteering more than men. Generation X had the highest rate of formal volunteering out of all generations, at 27%. Parents with children also tend to volunteer more frequently (30%) compared to those without children (21%).

States & Demographics With The Highest Informal Volunteer Participation

For informal volunteering, the top states were:

  1. Montana: 68.8%
  2. Nebraska: 66.4%
  3. Maine: 65.0%
  4. Delaware: 63.9%
  5. Vermont: 63.9%
  6. Minnesota: 61.9%
  7. Utah: 61.6%
  8. West Virginia: 60.5%
  9. Iowa: 60.3%
  10. Pennsylvania: 60.1%

When it comes to informal volunteering, Baby Boomers had the highest rate (59%). Similarly, veterans were more likely to help their neighbors than non-veterans (59% versus 51%). As with formal volunteering, people with children under the age of 18 were also more likely than people without children to informally help their neighbors.

Volunteer Rates For Some Of The Largest US Cities

Different metro areas of the United States had different rates of formal and informal volunteering:

  • New York Metro Area: 19.4% (formal); 43.6% (informal)
  • Los Angeles Metro Area: 15.1% (formal);  41.7% (informal)
  • Chicago Metro Area: 27.6% (formal);  54.6% (informal)
  • Dallas Metro Area: 18.8% (formal);  43.0% (informal)
  • Houston Metro Area: 20.1% (formal); 48.5% (informal)
  • Washington, DC Metro Area: 27.9% (formal); 46.8% (informal)
  • Philadelphia Metro Area: 28.7% (formal); 57.8% (informal)
  • Atlanta Metro Area: 19.6% (formal); 40.8% (informal)
  • Miami Metro Area: 14.0% (formal); 35.5% (informal)
  • Phoenix Metro Area: 25.4% (formal); 47.4% (informal)
  • Boston Metro Area: 25.4% (formal); 57.9% (informal)
  • Riverside Metro Area: 9.0% (formal); 44.2% (informal)

AmeriCorps offers additional data about volunteering trends for each state. For example, in Delaware - where Inclind is based - people with a graduate degree were the group that was most likely to volunteer, at 42.2% formally. Young people aged 16 to 17 were the most likely to volunteer, with 28.2% of people in this age group formally volunteering. This data provides interesting insight into how volunteering looks in each U.S. state.

Additional Volunteering Statistics

Some other cool statistics on volunteering:

  • Volunteers are worth $28.54 per hour on average
  • Volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to a charity compared to people who don’t donate
  • 96% of volunteers believe that their volunteer work improved their sense of purpose in life
  • More than 71% of people who volunteer work with one organization
  • People between the ages of 35 and 54 are the most likely to volunteer
  • San Jose, California, is the number one place in America for recruiting millennial volunteers
  • People who volunteer 100+ hours a year are some of the healthiest people in the United States
  • Volunteers under the age of 24 make up 22.6% of all volunteers
  • People who volunteer regularly have a 27% increased likelihood of finding a job
  • 60% of hiring managers see volunteering as a valuable asset when making hiring decisions
  • On average, volunteers spend 50 hours per year donating their time
  • 77% of nonprofits believe that skilled volunteers could improve their organization
  • 35% of volunteers do so as a way to socialize
  • Volunteering decreases the risk of developing high blood pressure by 40%
  • 70% of corporate volunteers believe that volunteering improves morale more than company parties
  • In 2014, 67% of volunteers found a volunteer opportunity online

This last statistic is particularly important for nonprofits. It emphasizes that having an online presence is vital to attracting volunteers. Perhaps even more critically, nonprofits should make information about their volunteer opportunities available on their websites and make it as easy as possible for people to learn more or sign up to volunteer.

Inclind can help your nonprofit agency design a website that appeals to prospective volunteers. We can add compelling elements - like volunteer stories - and listings of current volunteer opportunities. We can even create custom components, like a volunteer application form, to streamline the process for your organization.

Increase Volunteerism with a Well-Designed Website from Inclind

In 2024, most people prefer to seek out information online rather than calling or visiting a business in person. Having volunteer opportunities easily accessible on your website is a great way to ensure you can attract the volunteers you need to fulfill your mission. Our team of award-winning website designers and developers can help.

Inclind helps nonprofits design, develop, update, and redesign websites with a purpose. We know that nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers to perform many hours of service per year. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to find information about your volunteer opportunities and apply to volunteer. 

We're available if you’d like to learn more about our web services for nonprofits. You can fill out our online contact form or hit the live chat button to talk to one of our experts about your website.

Related Articles

Unearth Our Day Hikes

Information Request

Please fill out the information below.