Letter: Volunteering makes impact on community

To the Editor:

Each year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the state of volunteerism in the U.S. For the past decade, the number of volunteers each year has declined. On the heels of National Volunteer Week, which was April 23 – 29, I’d like to encourage you to explore ways that you can get involved in a nonprofit organization of your choice this year.

Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 62.6 million people volunteered in the U.S. in 2015, providing service worth an estimated $184 billion. Those statistics seem rather impressive on the surface. However, we can do so much better.

The facts show that only one in four Americans volunteered in 2015. Women volunteered more than men, with working mothers giving the most of their time.

People age 65 and older gave an average of 96 hours during the year, while those between ages 25 – 34 gave just 32 hours a year. Married people with children volunteered more than single people, and the age group that gave the least to non-profit organizations were millennials; only 18 percent of people ages 20 – 24 volunteered in 2015.

Nonprofit organizations need volunteers of all ages, interests and abilities. We rely on people who are committed to our mission, care about sustaining and enhancing our future and want to get involved in helping us reach others in deep, meaningful and life-changing ways.

Nonprofit organizations seek experienced leaders from the for-profit world to serve on our boards, young professionals to help raise awareness and support, community leaders to help champion our missions and members of our communities to help implement programming and stage our special events.

Now is an ideal time to think about how you can get involved with a nonprofit organization and how you can make a difference in the lives of others through volunteering. No matter what your age, background or life experiences may be, you have something to offer. Volunteering is extremely important. For you, it may be one of the most unique and rewarding experiences of your life.

Norman Burns

President and CEO

Conner Prairie