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Volunteering Perceptions and Realities: A National Survey of Adults 18+

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This study surveyed adults of all ages to better understand their attitudes and perceptions about volunteering.

Key Findings:

  • Three out of four respondents would choose to give time (73%) over money (16%) to help solve a national problem. However, respondents also feel that requests for monetary donations have increased (34%) more than requests for volunteer time (11%).
  • 52% rate volunteering to help others as an important goal, and 68% said that they have volunteered in the last year.
  • The majority (70%) believe that Americans have not lived up to President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural request to “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
  • Respondents overwhelmingly think older people volunteer more (71%) than younger people (15%).
  • Both Republicans (46%) and Democrats (58%) thought their own “group” volunteered more. In reality, previous research has shown that there is no significant difference in volunteering between Republicans and Democrats after controlling for religious attendance.

The telephone survey was conducted December 11-15, 2008, by ICR among a nationally representative sample of 1,011 adults age 18 or older. For more information, contact Jean Koppen at 202-434-6311. (11 pages)

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