Impact of Volunteers = $45M/year according to Drury study | #Volunteer

Drury University study reveals impact of volunteers in the Ozarks

Sibyl James volunteers at Ozarks Food Harvest on Thursday evenings. The 55-year-old Springfield woman said she gives her time because people gave so much to her and her husband when they had triplets 18 years ago.

Someone brought a truckload of baby clothes and children's toys, she recalled.

"They filled my garage full of formula," James said.

According to a new study by Drury University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership, James is the "typical" volunteer in Greene and Christian counties: a white woman older than 40 with an income of $50,000 or more a year.

More than two-thirds of participants said personal experience — such as James' experience when her triplets were born — was a factor that influenced their decision to volunteer.

"People came out of the woodwork and brought us clothes, food and money and offered to babysit," James said. "They didn't know me from Adam, so you pay it forward."

The study was unveiled at a news conference Tuesday and will be available online soon at Drury.edu.

The study provides an in-depth look at volunteers in Greene and Christian counties, their service, and how they help organizations accomplish their missions. The 30-page report highlights trends in volunteerism, motives for giving time, and how organizations manage volunteers. One major finding: formal volunteerism (service documented by area nonprofits and institutions) has an economic impact of almost $45 million per year in the two counties.

The results of a new study examining volunteerism in the Ozarks was unveiled at Drury on Tuesday, June 21, 2016.  (Photo: Nathan Papes/News-Leader)

According to the study:

Who is volunteering

• Women serve more often than men, but men tend to serve longer than women. Of the respondents, 72.9 percent were women. The median years of service for men is 14 years. For women, the median is 10 years.

• Baby Boomers and Generation X are the age groups most likely to serve as volunteers. Nearly 70 percent of all the responding volunteers are 40 years or older.

• Minority groups are underrepresented in the Springfield volunteer sector. Communication challenges, cultural differences, and opportunity awareness may explain the lack of involvement, according to the study.

 

The results of a new study examining volunteerism in the Ozarks was unveiled at Drury on Tuesday, June 21, 2016.  (Photo: Nathan Papes/News-Leader)

Organizational findings

• There are nearly 55,000 people serving as formal volunteers in Greene and Christian counties. The perform more than 155,000 hours of service each month.

• Volunteers serve an average of about 18 hours per month at organizations, or about 96 hours per year. One organization reported having a volunteer who served more than 240 hours per month.

 • There is a critical shortage of volunteers in the Springfield area. More than half of the responding nonprofit and civic organizations report needing more volunteers in order to meet the requests for services. To keep pace with current demands, an additional 7,800 volunteers are needed.

"That is a call to action for our community," Smith said at the press conference.

• The most important volunteer activity, according to the responding organizations, is serving as a board or committee member. The next most important is helping with fundraising.

Economic value

• Volunteers add great economic value to the region. The annual economic value of formal volunteerism in this area is over $43.5 million.

• Nonprofit and civic organization save millions of dollars each year by using volunteers instead of paying for services. The average annual savings is more than $185,000 per organization.

• There is a clear correlation between those who give their time and financial contributions. More than 90 percent of volunteers donated money to a charity within the past 12 months. Those with household incomes of $50,000 or more per year were most likely to donate.

Source:  Springfield News-Leader

 

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