I mentioned volunteering to a friend the other day, how rewarding it was, and she responded by giving me a look akin to that internet sensation ‘Grumpy Cat’ – “I volunteered once: it was awful.” I assured her that if she tried it once she would be hooked. And while I’m not sure I’ve convinced her, from the statistics I’ve come across, she’s in the minority.
Of young adults between the ages of 16-31, volunteering is at its highest rate in years. It’s estimated that 11.6 millennials volunteered throughout 2011, and that number is expected to be higher when all is told at the end of 2012. The services of these dedicated young people, along with Generation X, have saved local non-profits and charities $173 BILLION dollars in donated labor. Those kinds of numbers are both inspiring and encouraging, and only cover the USA!
World Volunteer Day is tomorrow, December 5th. It’s on this day that we thank these selfless individuals who’ve given 8.1 billion hours of their time to charity in the US alone. Without the help of these compassionate people, so many programs and people would be lost and forgotten. When I consider how hard it is to even make it to a dentist appointment on time, I’m sufficiently impressed that this many individuals can carve out that much time to devote to selfless behavior.
Volunteering might not be for everyone, but I bet that at some point in your life, for one reason or another, you benefited from volunteers in some way, shape or form. And so even if you’re not about to join the Peace Corps, that doesn’t mean you can’t hand out some volunteering lapel pins as a small thank you for all the hard work that volunteers do. And if you can start volunteering: do! Over 11 million people can’t be wrong.