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Survey Volunteering is up CUs show how its done
WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (2/27/12)--Voluntarism is alive in the U.S., with nearly 64.3 million people volunteering through or for an organization at least once from September 2010 to September 2011.  Since credit unions have voluntarism stamped in their DNA, it's likely that quite a few were from credit unions.

The volunteer rate rose a 0.5 percentage point--to 26.8%, or roughly 1.5 million more volunteers--in the year before September 2011, said statistics released Wednesday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase followed a decline of equal size during 2010, said the bureau, which collected the data through a supplement to the September 2011 Current Population Survey sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The increase was attributed to more full-time employees getting involved during the period.

Credit unions are well represented on the volunteer scene. For example, Shell FCU in Deer Park, Texas, reported more than 294 volunteers from the credit union donated 1,485 hours of personal time during 2011 and raised $15,785 in more than 50 sponsored events, said the Texas Credit Union League  (LoneStar Leaguer Feb. 24). Since the inception of the credit union's Furthering Community Unity Team in 2008, the team has raised $43,322 and donated 4,986 volunteer hours.

Another example is Oregon Community CU, Eugene, Ore., whose employees organized events to raise funds for local chapters of charities such as the American Cancer Society, United Way, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the American Red Cross. Overall, the credit union awarded $237,325 in scholarships and spent $176,500 in donations and sponsors for a total of $413,825 in 2011.  It gave more than $315,000 to non-profits and topped the Portland Business Journal's 2011 Corporate Philanthropy Awards.

During President's Day the credit union closed its offices so 230 employees could complete community service projects at nine different nonprofit organizations. They donated more than 600 volunteer hours.

"We just proved that you can do amazing things when you are a high performing team that has great expectations and believes in what you do. Being able to become a united group and devote an afternoon  to help change people's lives made a difference in our lives too," said CEO Mandy Jones.

Although credit unions have no trouble finding volunteers for their many charitable efforts among their staff and membership, they might be interested in the demographics of who is doing the volunteering for a religious, educational or other nonprofit organization.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' U.S. Bureau of Statistic Report on Volunteering:

  • Roughly 29.6% of full-time workers volunteered, while 33.3% of part-time workers and 23.8% of unemployed workers did so.
  • Women continued to volunteer at a higher rate--29.9%, an increase from the previous year's 29.3%--than men. Roughly 23.5% of men volunteered, about the same as the previous year.
  • More married people (32.3%) volunteered than single people (21.5%), and people with children under age 18  (33.7%) volunteered more than those without children (24.1%).
  • Those with higher level of education were more likely to volunteer than those with lesser education.  Among people age 25 or older, 42.4%  with college degrees volunteered while 18.2% of high school only graduates and 9.8% of those with less than a high school diploma volunteer.
  • By age, the most likely to volunteer were ages 35-44 (at 31.8%) and ages 45-54 (at 30.6%). Least likely to volunteer: People in their early 20s (19.4%).
Volunteers spent a median 51 hours on volunteer activities during the period--ranging from a high of 96 hours for volunteers 65 or older to a low of 32 hours for 25- to 24-year olds.  Men tended to engage in general labor; coach, referee or supervise sports teams; or fundraise. Women were most likely to fundraise; participate in activities related to distributing food; or tutor/teach.
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