Prospecting for volunteers

Public involvement professionals often are challenged to find new faces and perspectives to serve as community or stakeholder representatives on advisory boards, study groups and the like.

But research conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau finds that volunteers are almost three times more likely to engage in any community organizational activity. Community organizational activities include formal and informal volunteering, religious and spiritual activities, group participation, and a variety of other civic activities.

On average, recent volunteers spend about 218 hours per year engaged in such activities, compared to 78 hours for non-volunteers and only 50 hours for former volunteers.

These findings suggest that those who are compiling their list of steering committee candidates might want to add to their list of criteria a current accounting of the individuals’ volunteer status to identify who might be most willing to participate and, more importantly, to devote adequate time to the effort.

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