In 2018, 77.34 million adults (30.3 percent) in America volunteered, according to a Volunteering in America report. Those 6.9 billion hours are worth an estimated $167 billion in economic value. Millions of people also volunteering to support friends and family (43.1 percent) and doing favors for their neighbors (51.4 percent) in acts of human kindness.
34% participate in food donation and meal preparation; 23% in transportation, labor support, and tutoring youth; 26% serve as mentors; 20% lend professional and management expertise. One in three volunteers also raises funds for nonprofits. Parents, not surprisingly, volunteer at rates 48 percent higher than non-parents and working mothers give more time than any other demographic.
However, COVID has rocked the volunteer world. Two-thirds of volunteers have decreased or suspended their efforts since the pandemic began. Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to the elderly in their homes has lost about half of its two million volunteers even though they have provided 77% more meals and are now paying drivers to do so.
Volunteers are the type of people most likely to be the ones who engage in their communities and talk to neighbors, join civic organizations, try to fix things, attend public meetings, discuss local issues, do favors for neighbors, and vote in local elections. Wouldn’t you like to be one of those people? It’s as easy as searching online for a start. And, many allow virtual participation. Simply enter your location to find opportunities near you.
Americorps’ serve.gov turns up volunteer opportunities you’ve probably never considered, such as:
- Secret passengers or "decoys” for K9 Training at the TSA
- Music Instructors in after-school community centers
- Tutors for young people at libraries to level up reading skills
- Peer Counselors to help guide people through tough work situations
- Nutritionists to help seniors with stress, sleep, and anxiety
- Educators and Child Development Specialists to educate parents
- Peds Pals for help cheer up hospitalized Kids with games and stories
- Storytellers to help make clinic waiting rooms literacy-rich
- Waiting Room Liaisons for people with loved ones in surgery
The Citizen Diplomacy Network offers opportunities for individuals to be exemplary citizen diplomats by uniting organizations that advance global, person-to-person engagement.
Opportunities listed at Volunteermatch.org also run the gamut – with an online tab to search for virtual opportunities – including:
- Morning Run Volunteer
- Shipkeeper's assistant
- Music Teacher
- Math Tutor
- Video Editor
- Art Director...
...And even something called a “Chicago Style” Stepper
Dosomething.org also lists things you can do from the comfort of home, such as:
• Transcribe historical documents or edit Wikipedia articles for the Smithsonian Institute
• Identify endangered animals or classify galaxy systems for Zooniverse
• Provide translations to international organizations that focus on crisis relief, health, and education
Here in New York, Hairstory is directing our charitable fundraising for City Harvest with this message for volunteers: “Whether you have experience in teaching and nutrition, are interested in working with local farmers, or simply want to give back to your community, your passion and time are important resources in the fight against hunger.”
1% for the Planet brings dollars and doers together to accelerate smart environmental giving. They connect members with high-impact nonprofit partners that align with their values and add to their brand story. From water way clean-ups to environmental advocacy, they are a rich source of organizations seeking volunteers.
The opportunities are endless, but people to fill them aren’t. So if you find yourself with extra time on your hands and some extra love in your heart, there are thousands of organizations that could use the extra help.
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At Hairstory, we apply the principles of sustainability to to our business conduct as well as our products and environmental footprint. Our goal is to minimize this impact where and whenever possible. Sustainability is a journey, not a destination, and each of us is both responsible and accountable for supporting our culture by generating new ideas, questioning old assumptions, pointing out inconsistencies, acknowledging constraints, engaging in uncomfortable or challenging conversations, and accepting divergent opinions and perspectives.