It’s the holidays, and beyond the planning and excitement surrounding family gatherings, gift buying and giving and simply celebrating, many Americans take time to volunteer.

Interestingly, a first-of-its-kind analysis from data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that despite nonprofits reporting record volunteer hours and charitable fundraising totals from 2002 to 2015, it’s not because more people are giving time and money.

In fact, the report, “Where Are America’s Volunteers?,” revealed that the number of actual volunteers and the percentage of Americans annually donating to nonprofits is down. Dramatically down.  

The national volunteer rate fell from 28.8% in 2005 to a 15-year low of 24.9% in 2015. At the same time, the percentage of Americans donating annually dropped from 68.8% in 2000 to 55.5% in 2014.

That means fewer people are doing more to make a difference in communities nationwide.The way to change those numbers is to 1) volunteer and 2) donate, and there are plenty of opportunities to do both.

“Volunteering during the holidays is often a family tradition, and it’s also a great time to establish a year-round plan to give your time to worthy causes and nonprofits doing great work in our communities,” said Steve Davis, development director at the Human Services Campus, a 13-acre property near 12th Avenue and Madison where more than 15 nonprofit organizations collaborate on services, support and program for men and women experiencing homelessness. “Nonprofit organizations like the Human Services Campus, and the individuals we serve every day, could use the help throughout the year.”

According to VolunteerHub.com, “Our ability to provide our time and expertise can make an immense difference in the world around us and within the communities that we reside. The fact of the matter is without volunteerism nonprofit organizations cannot fulfill their mission and achieve their goals.”

Here are three facts about volunteers and volunteering, also from VolunteerHub.com:

• Individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 are the most likely to volunteer their time according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

• Volunteers are worth on average $24.14 an hour according to an Independent Sector study.

• Volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to a charity than those that don’t volunteer according to The Corporation for National & Community Service.

There are many volunteer opportunities at the Human Services Campus, both during the holiday season and throughout the year. Among them:

Human Services Campus

• Post office: Assist clients in receiving and sending mail. Offer basic campus and community resource information. Stamp, sort and purge mail.

• Front desk specialist at the Brian Garcia Welcome Center. Assist clients with initial questions. Learn about services for shelter, housing and crisis situations. Assist with basic office tasks such as making copies and organizing materials.

• Front desk specialist at Lodestar Day Resource Center. Assist clients with day-to-day questions. Help clients connect to services offered on the campus. Work closely with security to maintain a safe environment for both clients and staff. Hand out hygiene items and restock supplies.

St. Joseph the Worker

• Front desk assistant: Responsible for assisting clients when they first enter.

• Clothing volunteer: Sort donated items including clothing, toiletries and tools; identify and organize employment appropriate clothing.

• Mock interviewer: Help prepare clients for job interviews by creating as realistic an experience as possible.

• Resume writer: Assist job-seeking clients by creating and editing resumes, cover letters and emails and conducting employment searches.

• Job readiness workshop class instructor: Teach curriculum to aid in the successful job search. 

• Computer lab volunteer: Assist clients who use computers for job searching purposes and oversees the computer lab.

Volunteering is an excellent way to give back and can truly make a difference in the community. JN 

Steve Carr owns the Kur Carr Group. For more information about volunteer opportunities among the 15 partners of HSC, visit the websites for Human Services Campus at hsc-az.org and St. Joseph the Worker at sjwjobs.org.

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