There has been much research conducted on volunteerism at the national and international level, but very little at the state and community level. For this study, 929 randomly selected AARP members in South Dakota were surveyed by mail with the following results:
- Nearly half say they have volunteered in the last 12 months.
- Those who are not volunteering say they don't because their personal schedules are too full, they have work commitments, or because of health or disability issues.
- Many volunteer at religious organizations. Others volunteer at civic associations; organizations that focus on education; community and neighborhood action groups; fraternal groups; arts, culture, humanities; or youth recreation and programs.
- AARP members are engaged in fundraising, making telephone calls, organizing events, and providing physical labor in their volunteer assignments.
- Wanting to help people is the number one very important reason for taking on a volunteer assignment. South Dakota members also say they want to make their community a better place, they want to be with people they enjoy, they want to work with people who share their ideals, or they feel it is their duty as a citizen.
The survey was conducted between February and April 2004 by FGI, Inc., and the report prepared by Susan L. Silberman, Ph.D., and Cassandra Burton, both of AARP Knowledge Management. (46 pages)