recession volunteering, volunteerism in America, volunteering during recession
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Volunteering Remains Strong Through Recession

November 28, 2008 07:57 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
Despite the recession, Americans are finding ways to give back, and often do so without spending money, highlighting Obama’s emphasis on volunteering.

Giving Takes Different Forms

Monetary donations to American charities have grown in 39 of the last 40 years according to The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, and “historically, charitable giving has been recession-proof,” reports the Associated Press.

Those statistics were reinforced by a Harris Interactive survey, publicized by Federal Way this week, which suggested that 2008 could be an unusually promising Christmas season for charities. The survey indicates that seven out of 10 adults are planning to spend less money on gifts, but half said they’d be “more likely to give a charitable gift than a traditional present,” said the AP article. 

However, there are various ways for Americans to give charitably without donating money, according to CNN. The network discussed holiday giving with leaders of charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, and the United Way. Each organization provides opportunities for families to volunteer their time meaningfully without reaching into their pockets.

Volunteerism could also experience a surge this season in part due to President-elect Barack Obama’s volunteer-driven proposals, including establishment of various corps for health, education and the environment. Obama has also encouraged Americans “to take care of their neighbors through volunteerism … and a sense of sacrifice,” according to a column in JoongAng Daily, an International Herald Tribune publication.

Related Topic: National Philanthropy Day

The 22nd National Philanthropy Day was officially held on Nov. 15, but is celebrated throughout November “as a way of reminding the public about the importance of giving and volunteering, especially during difficult economic times,” according to PR Newswire.

“The need for charitable programs rises dramatically when profits fall, costs skyrocket, and families struggle to make ends meet,” said Paulette Maehara of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which coordinates National Philanthropy Day. Furthermore, most charitable organizations in the United States survive because of “contributions by everyday citizens, not big corporation or foundation grants,” Maehara said to PR Newswire.

Reference: Volunteering in the United States; How to volunteer


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