June 21 is the 7th annual United Way Day of Action, a day when people across the globe volunteer with United Way to make their corner of the world a better place for all. While United Way volunteers are gearing up for the big day, there’s even bigger news to report: a recent United Way survey of U.S. and international United Way CEOs revealed that 73% of them predict volunteering will continue to rise in the next year. As I wrote in March, this contrasts with America’s volunteer rate being at its lowest point since the federal government started measuring this 12 years ago, down from 27.5% in 2002 to 25.4% in 2013. Despite the declining proportion of people volunteering, population growth still translated into a 9% gain in actual volunteers from 2002 to 2012. But United Way saw a 23.8% increase in volunteers in the same time period.
The other big news from this survey is that what Americans tend to volunteer most for isn’t what communities say they most need to drive lasting change. Only 7% of Americans volunteer as mentors to struggling youth, while 89% of United Way CEOs say mentoring is what’s most needed to make lasting change in their communities.
United Way has always recruited people with passion, expertise and resources to create community solutions that also create opportunity for all. Lately we have been working to recruit volunteer readers, tutors and mentors for students. So far, more than 300,000 people have signed up, and you can too. Not convinced? Here are five reasons volunteer mentors matter.
United Way is uniquely positioned to create community solutions that engage people, companies, faith communities, government, labor, nonprofits and more to create community solutions that drive lasting change and results in communities around the world.
Perhaps the most visible example of our strategic volunteer engagement is United Way Day of Action, which occurs annually on June 21. Every year, hundreds of United Ways across the world bring thousands of volunteers together in a worldwide Day of Action. This year, some 280 United Ways in all 50 states and 9 countries are mobilizing volunteers for projects focused on education, income and health.
Please check out the new report, Volunteering: The Force Multiplier for Community Change, which presents the survey findings and describes why and how more people are volunteering with United Way. I hope you’ll take a look, and join us as we LIVE UNITED.