Volunteering in 2014

February 27, 2015

About 62.8 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2013 and September 2014. That was 25.3 percent of the population 16 years and older. The main organization where volunteers worked was most often religious (33.3 percent of all volunteers). Many volunteers also worked at educational or youth service organizations (25.1 percent) and social or community service organizations (14.4 percent).

Percent distribution of volunteers by type of main organization, September 2014
Organization Total Men Women

Religious

33.3 32.2 34.1

Educational or youth service

25.1 23.7 26.2

Social or community service

14.4 14.8 14.2

Hospital or other health

7.4 6.1 8.4

Civic, political, professional, or international

5.2 6.6 4.2

Sport, hobby, cultural, or arts

3.9 4.7 3.3

Environmental or animal care

2.6 2.6 2.6

Public safety

1.1 1.8 0.5

Other

4.3 4.7 4.0

Not determined

2.6 2.7 2.6

The tasks volunteers performed most often for their main organization were collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (10.8 percent of volunteers). Other common tasks were fundraising (10.3 percent) and tutoring or teaching (9.3 percent). Men and women performed different main activities. Men who volunteered were most likely to engage in general labor (11.5 percent) or coach, referee, or supervise sports teams (9.4 percent). Women were most likely to collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food (12.1 percent); raise money (11.6 percent); or tutor or teach (11.1 percent).

Percent distribution of main volunteer activity for main organization, September 2014
Activity Total Men Women

Collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food

10.8 9.0 12.1

Fundraise or sell items to raise money

10.3 8.5 11.6

Tutor or teach

9.3 6.9 11.1

Engage in general labor; supply transportation to people

8.2 11.5 5.7

Provide professional or management assistance, including serving on a board or committee

7.1 8.5 6.1

Mentor youth

6.0 6.3 5.8

Coach, referee or supervise sports teams

5.5 9.4 2.6

Be an usher, greeter, or minister

4.5 5.3 3.9

Provide general office services

4.3 2.9 5.2

Engage in music, performance, or other artistic activities

3.9 3.9 3.9

Collect, make, or distribute clothing, crafts, or goods other than food

3.7 2.5 4.7

Provide counseling, medical care, fire/EMS, or protective services

2.9 3.4 2.6

Other

14.7 13.9 15.2

Equal time among all

8.8 7.9 9.4

These data are from questions asked in the September 2014 Current Population Survey. For more information about volunteering, see "Volunteering in the United States – 2014" (HTML) (PDF). Volunteers are people who performed unpaid volunteer tasks for an organization at any point during the survey reference year. The main organization is the one for which the volunteer worked the most hours during the year.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Volunteering in 2014 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/volunteering-in-2014.htm (visited September 29, 2016).

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