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Volunteering, Service and Remembering September 11th: A National Survey of Adults 18+

In order to better understand volunteering in America, AARP’s Office of Volunteer and Civic Engagement commissioned a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults age 18 and older.  The study assessed people’s thoughts about remembering September 11, 2001, how remembering September 11th relates to service, and their overall perceptions about making a difference in their own communities.

Key findings revealed:

  • Although one-half (50%) of those surveyed think Americans’ sense of duty and service is “weaker” than just after September 11th, the majority (54%) think their sense of duty and service is the same.
  • Most respondents (59%) prefer to observe September 11th in a private manner, while three in ten prefer to observe the day in a public manner (31%).
  • The majority (71%) think giving their time has the greatest impact, compared with contributing money (17%).
  • Almost all (95%) think giving their time can help ease problems in their community either a great deal (48%), somewhat (36%), or a little (10%).
  • Survey respondents were split as to whether they personally do enough to help others (49% say they do enough and 50% say they do not do enough).
  • While approximately one-quarter of respondents (26%) believe service and volunteerism is a high national priority, more than one-half of respondents (56%) rate service and volunteerism as personally important to them.
  • One-quarter (25%) said they think about or consider giving time to service on a daily basis, 37 percent think about volunteering a few times a month, and 20 percent think about volunteering yearly.

The survey was conducted July 22-26, 2009, by ICR.  For more information, contact Jean Koppen at 202-434-6311.

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