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The Face of Volunteerism in America: What Nonprofit Managers Should Know

To succeed in nonprofit management, you need to know how to attract volunteers.

Whether it’s helping out at our kid’s school or working to keep a local park clean, most of us volunteer at some point in our lives. And this work is important, as many nonprofits couldn’t make ends meet if people weren’t donating their time.

If you’re looking to start or advance a career in nonprofit management, you’ll likely need to know how to find volunteers. And that means understanding what kinds of people are most likely to volunteer. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information on volunteerism in America. Some of its most important findings include:1

The Face of Volunteerism in America: What Nonprofit Managers Should Know

  • One-quarter of all Americans volunteer at least once each year, which amounts to 62.6 million volunteers.
  • The average volunteer spends 52 hours a year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with just one organization.
  • 33.1% of volunteers spend most of their time volunteering for a religious organization, 25.2% spend most of their time with an educational or youth-related organization, and 14.6% spend most of their time with a social or community service organization.
  • 41.2% of volunteers become involved after being asked to volunteer, while 41.6% become involved after approaching the organization on their own. 
  • Women volunteer more often than men, with 27.8% of women volunteering as compared to 21.8% of men.
  • Middle-aged Americans have the highest volunteer rates, with 28.9% of 35- to 44-year-olds volunteering and 28% of 45- to 54-year-olds volunteering.
  • Teenagers volunteer at rates higher than those in their early 20s (26.4% to 18.4%).
  • Married people volunteer at rates higher than those who’ve never married (29.9% to 19.9%).
  • About one-third of parents with children under the age of 18 volunteer.
  • People with more education volunteer more, with 38.8% of college graduates volunteering as compared to just 15.6% of people with only a high school diploma.  

What Else Can You Do to Succeed in Nonprofit Management?

Understanding who volunteers and how to find them is just one part of running a successful nonprofit. If you want to gain broader knowledge and real expertise in nonprofit management, you’ll want to earn a graduate degree. While some people turn to standard business degrees or management degrees, a better choice may be an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership.

Through a graduate program in nonprofit management, you can gain the critical skills you’ll need to lead diverse and complex nonprofit organizations and create social change. And the good news is, gaining these leadership skills doesn’t require you to leave your current job or move to a different city. Thanks to online education, you can earn an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from wherever you are now, while continuing to work full time.

In an online master’s program in nonprofit management, you can complete your coursework from home or anywhere else you have internet access. Plus, online graduate programs allow you to choose when in the day you attend class, so you can arrange your master’s degree studies around your job.

Thanks to the advantages of online learning, you can earn the nonprofit degree you need to keep a nonprofit organization successful.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,