Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the purpose of the Volunteering and Civic Life in America research and why is it important?

The information found in the Volunteering and Civic Life in America 2016 Web site ( can enhance discussions with community leaders, political representatives, and interested individuals on what is happening with volunteerism and civic engagement, how to sustain current volunteers, understand the impact of civic participation and how to help new interested parties begin their commitment to service.Volunteers continue to demonstrate a commitment to the nation, serving almost 7.8 billion hours in their communities in 2015 – translating to almost 183 billion dollars.   


The information in the Volunteering and Civic Life in America Web site can also strategically guide an enhancement of the volunteer experience, identify appropriate goals for recruitment, and build a more supportive nonprofit infrastructure for service and extend opportunities for civic engagement and participation.   Sharing this information expands opportunities for engagement by showing how different groups elect to be civically engaged, both formally and informally. In conjunction with this release, CNCS is providing training and technical assistance resources to help nonprofits and civic leaders capitalize on this knowledge. These resources will help communities augment and sustain diverse types of civic engagement and provide tools for communities to develop lasting solutions to their problems.


The Volunteering and Civic life In America website helps to define both the volunteering experience and civic life in America.  These efforts ultimately supports the Corporation’s mission of improving lives, strengthening communities, and fostering civic engagement through service and volunteering across America.

Local governments, community service leaders, and service organizations can use this research and the tools found on the Web site to develop growth strategies to expand recruitment and mobilize a greater number of volunteers to help address some of our nation’s most pressing challenges. 


The November Civic Life Supplement was last administered in 2013 and then discontinued.  The Volunteer Supplement was administered for the last time in 2015.  In 2015-2016, the Volunteering and Civic Life supplements have been redesigned and a single instrument is currently being cognitively tested by the US Census.  This combined instrument will be administered in September 2017. 



Where does the data come from?

Volunteer data is collected on and then reported at the national, state and MSA levels for a number of items, including:

  • volunteers (age 16 and older) who served through or with an organization;
  • volunteer hours served;
  • volunteer statistics for demographic subgroups defined by race, ethnicity, gender and age;
  • volunteer statistics for specialized populations, such as Baby Boomers Gen Xers, Millennials, Parents, Veterans and College Students;
  • types of organizations where individuals volunteer;  activities performed by volunteers.
  • measures of civic involvement (voting, helping neighbors, participating in groups and organizations

Civic Engagement data is collected on and then reported at the national, state and MSA levels for a number of items, including:

  • social connectedness ( seeing family and friends, eating together, talking to neighbors
  • confidence in institutions and trust in neighbors

The data for Volunteering and Civic Life in America 2016 were collected through the September Volunteer Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households (approximately 100,000 adults), conducted on an annual basis through a partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Current Population Survey obtains information on employment and unemployment for the nation’s civilian non-institutionalized population, ages 16 and older.  The purpose of the September supplement is to report information on the incidence of volunteering, the characteristics of volunteers, and other aspects of civic life in the United States. 

Volunteers are defined as persons who perform unpaid volunteer activities. The count of volunteers includes only persons who volunteered through or for an organization. 

National Service data, which is specific to the programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, come from both the Corporation and its external partners. 

How are the rankings calculated?

The Volunteering and Civic Life in America Web site includes rankings of America’s states, large cities (metropolitan areas) and mid-size cities.

Rankings on  were calculated by combining three to four years of data in order to increase the reliability of the ranking and rate.  States and large cities (metropolitan areas) use three years of data; mid-size cities use four. You will note that in some cases, single-year results are also available. The use of pooled data also improve the stability of the estimates.  For example, rankings for states and large-cities are based on three years’ of data —combined statistics calculated from the 2013, 2014, and 2014 volunteering supplement. 

Mid-size city rankings are based on four years of data, from the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 volunteering supplements to the CPS, as mid-size cities tend to have a smaller sample size each year.

For the archived Civic Engagement data the rankings are based on combined statistics from  , 2010, 2011 from the Nov 2013 Civic Life supplement to the CPS. 

Despite the use of multiple years’ worth of data to produce the ranking statistics, however, some differences between states and cities may not be statistically significant. 

For city rankings, the data are collected from the entire Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Thus, the data considers volunteering within the principal cities of the MSA as well as suburban areas.  MSAs are metropolitan statistical areas, as defined by. According to the definitions provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), an MSA is centered on one or more urbanized areas of 50,000 or more in population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban core as measured by commuting ties.

The exception to this rule is in New England, where volunteering statistics are not reported for MSAs, but for NECTAs (New England City and Town Areas).  NECTAs are based on cities and towns, while MSAs are based on counties, which tend to be much larger and have more diverse populations in New England.  To gather data from other sources, we use data from MSAs whose boundaries match the NECTA boundaries as closely as possible.

To take an example, statistics for Los Angeles, CA were collected within the Los Angeles Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) which includes the following major cities: Los Angeles, CA; Long Beach, CA; and Santa Ana, CA, plus portions of the populations of Los Angeles and Orange Counties in California. For more information about MSAs, see for more information about the areas covered by the CPS sample within an MSA, contact the Corporation.

Are rankings the most important aspect of the Volunteering in America release?

While state and city volunteer rankings are one method for showing improvements in a city or state, it is not the most important aspect of the site. provides a current landscape of volunteering and service in American communities.  State and City ranking may differ by special populations, and this will allows communities to identify which groups of individuals are volunteering, what service activities are being performed, and which types of organizations are the most common sites for volunteering.  

The site can also rank states by archived measures of civic engagement, including voting, helping neighbors, discussing politics, and social connectedness.  The site provides tools, tips and effective practices to help nonprofits, communities and civic leaders develop and implement their service agenda, strengthen their volunteer recruitment efforts, and deepen their volunteers’ commitment to service. The wealth of information available on the site is an important platform to develop volunteer growth strategies and build the civic infrastructure of nonprofits and communities.


How are organizations categorized where people volunteer?

The BLS questionnaire sorts the types of organizations where people volunteer into 16 categories (see list below).  We then recode the BLS organization-type variable even further to create the VIA version.  The “other” category contains the BLS categories “other” (an original CPS response), “environmental or animal care,” and “public safety.”  The “not determined” responses have been removed from the totals altogether.

Types of Organizations Categories:

1) Religious organizations; 2) Children’s educational, sports and recreational groups; 3) Other educational groups; 4) Social and community service groups; 5) Civic organizations; 6) Cultural or arts organizations; 7) Environmental or animal care organizations; 8) Health research or education organizations; 9) Hospitals, clinics and healthcare organizations; 10)Immigrant/refugee assistance organizations; 11) International organizations; 12) Labor unions, and business or professional organizations; 13) Political parties or Advocacy Groups; 14) Public safety organizations; 15) Sports and hobby groups; and  16) Youth services organizations.

If you would like to see examples of each of the organization categories, please click here.

How are civic groups categorized where people participate?

The BLS 2011 November supplement identifies the types of organizations where people participate (list below).   These broad categories include;  1) school groups, neighborhood, or community associations such as PTA or neighborhood watch groups;  2) service or civic organizations such as American Legion or Lions Club;  3) sports or recreation organizations; 4) churches, synagogues, mosques, or other religious institution (not counting attendance at services); and 5) other type of organizations (see archived file)

 How are volunteer activities categorized?

The BLS questionnaire sorts the types of volunteer activities into 13 categories (see list below).  Volunteers are asked whether they perform each of these activities with their main organization – the organization with which they served the most hours in the previous year.  The volunteer activities statistics we report in VIA are different from those reported in the annual brief published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Volunteering in the United States.”  Table 6 of the annual BLS brief shows the percentage of volunteers whose main activity with their main volunteer organization falls into each of the standard activity categories.  In VIA, we report the percentage of volunteers who perform this activity at all with their main organization, whether or not they considered this to be their main activity. 

Volunteer Activity Categories:

1) Coach, referee, or supervise sports teams; 2) Tutor or teach; 3) Mentor youth; 4) Be an usher, greeter, or minister; 5) Collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food; 6) Collect, make, or distribute clothing, crafts, or goods other than food; 7) Fundraise or sell items to raise money; 8) Provide counseling, medical care, fire/EMS or protective services; 9) Provide general office services; 10) Provide professional or management assistance, including serving on a board or committee; 11) Engage in music, performance, or other artistic activities; 12) Engage in general labor; supply transportation for people; 13) Other.          

If you would like to see examples of each of the volunteer categories, please click here


How did the volunteer rates change in 2015?


What we found this year is that the volunteer rate decreased between 2014 and 2015 by .4 percentage points, from 25.3% to 24.9%.  However the number of hours served by volunteers nation-wide remained stable at about 7.7 billion hours served per year– translating to almost 183 billion dollars.   :


How are volunteers making a difference in their communities?

All types of Americans are serving in a variety of ways. From young students to seniors - Americans are making a difference through traditional nonprofits, by serving informally in their communities, and creating their own service project. The Volunteering in America data shows that 64.5 million Americans across the country volunteered to help change the course of their communities. Volunteering in America data illustrates the rate of individuals ages 16 and over who perform unpaid volunteer activities for or through an organization. It is important to note that this is only one of the many ways that Americans are serving.

Volunteers are mobilizing to help individuals in need by mentoring youth to help them stay in school; serving food at their local church or shelter; providing job training and employment counseling; and contributing to many other critical services. Through service, volunteers are supporting the vulnerable populations hit hardest by the economy and helping to create a stronger, more stable future.

Are volunteers replacing current staff in nonprofit organizations?

The nation’s nonprofits are under strain from a tight economy, a leadership drain (as Boomers retire), and are facing higher staff turnover rates than many other industries.  Volunteers are a resource for tackling these challenges. We have found more often that volunteers provide shorter-term services than staff, and often serve part-time. To that regard, nonprofits are not encouraged to use volunteerism as a strategy to replace permanent staff. Instead, nonprofits are encouraged to incorporate volunteering into their strategic mission. Volunteers can serve many functions, whether it is providing direct services by providing financial management and job training to someone who has lost employment, or by providing capacity-building services such as recruiting and managing other volunteers.  Research by CNCS in 2013 has also demonstrated a positive link between volunteering and employment for those seeking a job.      

How can civic participation be increased to augment the civic health of communities?

 NCoC is providing training and technical assistance resources to help nonprofits and civic leaders capitalize on the information provided here on civic engagement. These resources were designed to assist communities enhance civic participation and provide tools for communities to develop lasting solutions to their problems.


What leads to differences in volunteer rates?

While we cannot conclusively determine that any single factor directly influences the level of volunteering in a community, we have identified some key themes which play an important role in America’s volunteering rates or habits.

1.      Greater Attachment to Community Encourages Volunteering:

A.    Higher Rates of Homeownership Correlates with Higher Percentages of Volunteers: In places where more homes are owner-occupied, community residents tend to have higher levels of investment in a community, and, perhaps as a result, higher levels of volunteering.

B.     Large Numbers of  Multi-Unit Housing Influence Volunteering: In states and large metropolitan areas with a larger percentage of multi-unit housing, such as apartment buildings and condominiums, volunteer rates tend to be lower.  While heavily populated areas may provide more opportunities to volunteer, residents may also be less engaged in community affairs, as suggested by this result.

C.     Conversely, Volunteer Rates Lower in Cities with Higher Foreclosures: Large cities with higher rates of foreclosures tended to have lower rates of volunteering.    However, we do not observe a similar relationship between unemployment and volunteering at the state level.

2.      Long Commutes Can Curtail Opportunities to Volunteer: Long commutes can curtail volunteering in a community by decreasing the amount of time residents have for non-work related activities, as well as the time for creating the social connections that lead to volunteering.

3.      Socio-economic Conditions Correlate with Volunteer Rates: Some communities, particularly those with a smaller percentage of residents who have a high school diploma or GED and those with higher unemployment and poverty rates, tend to have less access to civic resources that reinforce volunteering.

A.    Volunteering Rises with Education: For states and large metropolitan areas, as the education level increases, the likelihood of volunteering also increases.

B.     In States, Higher Unemployment Related to Lower Volunteering: States with higher unemployment rates are more likely to have lower volunteering rates.  However, we do not observe a similar relationship between unemployment and volunteering across major metropolitan areas (“large cities”).

C.     Volunteering is Less Common in Higher Poverty Areas: Poverty is another socioeconomic characteristic that tends to be strongly associated with lower volunteer rates.

4.      Greater Numbers of Community Associations Correlate with Higher Volunteer Rates:
Cities with fewer nonprofits may find themselves with smaller numbers of volunteers because of the lack of opportunity and options. Not surprisingly, then, communities with more nonprofits per capita are likely to have higher volunteer rates.

All of these factors can play a role in influencing the volunteer rate in a community and each city has its own unique blend of strengths and challenges.

What can a city do to increase its volunteer rate?

Volunteering in America is a great tool for states and cities to develop comprehensive strategies to increase their volunteer capacity and to leverage citizen service. This Web site provides evidence that volunteering habits are strongly connected to the particular characteristics of a given community.  In order to make a big difference, over-arching changes may need to be made to the community as a whole. However, there are some practical steps we can take to move closer to the goal of engaging all Americans in serving their communities. Some of those steps include:

Encourage leaders in communities to consider strategies for elevating the issue of volunteering in their policies and communications. Volunteering is already playing a large role in solving problems and raising the quality of life in cities and states across the country, but there is a long way to go before the majority of communities are benefitting from the full potential of volunteering in their areas.

Work with employers to popularize flexible work schedules in order to diminish the effect of long commuting times on volunteering. Also, spread the word about pro bono volunteering and skills-based volunteering—they are no longer just for legal professionals. They can be excellent training experiences as well as opportunities for real partnerships in the community leading to natural, positive public relations.

Work with schools and other groups to spur greater community engagement among youth through activities such as service-learning in order to start young people on a pathway to life-long engagement and to draw parents into service as well.

Encourage nonprofits to reinvent and expand the roles that volunteers play in an organization in order to attract more people to service and boost volunteer retention.


How is volunteer retention calculated?

Volunteer retention is defined as the proportion of year-1 volunteers who also perform volunteer service in the following year. Due to the design of the CPS Volunteer Supplement sample, 50 percent of the respondents in a given year remain in the sample for the following September supplement. Volunteer retention rates are calculated using matched pairs of CPS Volunteer Supplement datasets, because year-1 and year-2 statistics are available for individual respondents. For example, the national retention rate for 2011 is calculated as the proportion of those who volunteered in 2011 (year 1) who also volunteered in 2012 (year 2).

Is volunteer retention still a significant issue?

While many nonprofits have benefited from the increase in the number of hours volunteers spent serving, volunteer retention still remains a significant issue.

Data from the Current Population Survey Volunteer Supplement show that about one third of volunteers tend to drop out of service each year.  According to the most recent CPS data, 37 percent of 2012 volunteers – 22.3 million adults overall – did not volunteer again in 2012. This high rate of volunteer turn-over stunts the productivity of non-profit organizations as they focus on replacing volunteers instead of maximizing impact.

Here are some reasons why volunteers stop serving and non-volunteers do not serve:

  • They are not invited to volunteer: Personal invitations to serve are more appealing to prospective volunteers;
  • There are myths about volunteering: Non-volunteers see themselves as essentially different from volunteers;
  • Volunteering takes up too much time: Non-volunteers worry about having enough time to volunteer, but in fact, research shows that people who do not volunteer have more free time than volunteers do;
  • Organizations do not implement effective volunteer management practices: Poor volunteer management turns people off of service; and
  • Organizations try to make a square peg fit in a round hole: Skills-based volunteering can bring in new volunteers. As such, be flexible about the types of opportunities you offer volunteers and assess their interests. For example, if you manage a tutoring program, you might find that a prospective volunteer might be less interested in tutoring, but might be more willing to utilize her marketing skills to help promote the program.

What can nonprofits do to increase retention of their volunteers?

Below is a list of eight effective management practices that organizations can adopt to increase volunteer retention:

  • Regularly supervise and communicate with volunteers;
  • Train paid staff in how to work with volunteers;
  • Offer training and professional development opportunities for volunteers;
  • Measure the impacts of your volunteers each year;
  • Recognize your volunteers through activities, such as award ceremonies;
  • Write policies and service descriptions for volunteers;
  • Implement screening procedures to identify suitable volunteers; and
  • Regularly collect information on volunteer numbers and hours.

How can a city or community help nonprofit organizations build capacity using volunteers?

The nation’s nonprofits are under strain from a tight economy, a leadership drain (as Boomers retire), and high turnover among younger nonprofit staff. Volunteers are an undervalued and underutilized resource for tackling these challenges.  Here are some specific ways volunteers can help nonprofits address financial challenges, confront workforce shortages, and achieve high impact:

  • Tackling Financial Challenges -- Volunteers can help ease financial pressures by providing technology services, developing programs, training staff and conducting strategic planning. 
  • Confronting workforce shortages -- Engaging volunteers is a common sense strategy for attracting additional experience and providing support to alleviate burnout. Baby Boomer volunteers can mentor young nonprofit professionals, leading to improved staff morale and lower turnover.
  • Achieving High Impact-- Volunteers may know a community’s assets, key players, and underlying challenges. They may also have the community connections required to open doors. Volunteers can also help a nonprofit stay connected to community issues. 

More info about how to attract and retain volunteers can be found at


What other research has the Corporation for National and Community Service produced and where can I find it?

Each year, the Office of Research and Policy Development produces an overview of volunteering at the national, state, and city level. To see related research, go to



1)      Religious organizations include:

Congregations: Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, shrines, monasteries, seminaries, and similar organizations that promote religious beliefs and administer religious services and rituals.

Associations of congregations:  This includes associations and auxiliaries of religious congregations and organizations that support and promote religious beliefs, services, and rituals.  The Knights of Columbus and Salvation Army are examples.

2)      Children’s educational, sports and recreational groups include:

Elementary, primary and secondary education:  Preschools, kindergartens, elementary schools, and high schools. This category does NOT include daycare.  Associations related to children’s schooling, like the PTA/PTO, are included.

3)      Other educational groups include:

Higher education:  Colleges, universities, graduate schools, law schools, medical schools, and other institutions that provide academic degrees. 

Other educational organizations:  This includes libraries and associations of colleges and universities such as alumni organizations, fraternities, and sororities.  This group also includes vocational or trade schools that are geared toward helping people gain employment such as technical training schools, paralegal training, secretarial training, or beauty schools. 

Job training programs:  Organizations that provide or support apprenticeship programs, internships, on-the-job training, and other training programs.

4)       Social and community service groups include:

Youth services:  This includes delinquency prevention services, teen pregnancy prevention, jobs for youths, YMCA and YWCA, and B’nai Brith.

Family services:  This includes family violence shelters and services.

Services for the elderly:  This includes homemaker services, transportation, adult daycare, recreation, and meal services geared toward the elderly.  This does NOT include residential nursing homes.

Emergency relief:  Organizations that work to prevent or alleviate the effects of disasters, organizations that educate or help prepare people to cope with the effects of disasters or provide relief to disaster victims.

Temporary shelters:  Organizations that provide temporary shelters to the homeless including travelers aid and temporary housing.

Material assistance:  Organizations that provide food, clothing, transportation, and other forms of assistance. This group includes food banks and clothing distribution centers.

Social services and social development:  Organizations that work towards solving or alleviating social problems and that work toward improving general public well being.  This category includes programs aimed at rehabilitating offenders such as halfway houses, probation and parole programs, and prison alternatives.  This category includes victim support services.

Housing development:  Organizations that build, maintain or rehabilitate buildings, housing, and other structures.

5)       Civic organizations include:

Community and neighborhood associations:  Organizations that work toward improving the quality of life within communities and neighborhoods.  This group includes homeowner associations.

Housing assistance:  Organizations that help with housing searches, legal services, and related assistance.

Civic associations:  Organizations that promote programs to encourage civic mindedness.  This group includes the Rotary Club and Lion’s Club.


6)       Cultural or arts organizations include:

Media and communications:  Organizations that produce and disseminate information. This group includes radio and TV stations, book publishers, newspapers and newsletters, and film production.

Visual arts, architecture, ceramic art:  Organizations that produce, disseminate and display visual art and architecture; this includes sculpture, photographic societies, painting, drawing, design centers, and architectural associations.

Performing arts:  Performing arts centers, companies and associations; this includes theater, dance, ballet, opera, orchestras, choral groups, and music ensembles.

Historical, literary and humanistic societies:  Organizations that promote appreciation of the humanities, preservation of historical and cultural artifacts, and commemoration of historical events, including historical societies, poetry and literary societies, language associations, reading promotion programs, war memorials, commemorative funds, and associations.

Museums:  General and specialized museums covering art, history, science, technology, and culture. 

Zoos and aquariums.


7)       Environmental or animal care organizations include:

Pollution control:  Organizations that promote clean air, clean water, reducing noise pollution, radiation control, treatment of hazard wastes and toxic substances, solid waste management and recycling programs.

Environmental conservation and protection:  Organizations that work to conserve and protect natural resources including land, water, energy, and plant resources.

Environmental beautification and open spaces:  Organizations that promote anti-litter campaigns, programs to preserve the parks, green spaces, open spaces in rural and urban areas, and highway and city beautification programs.  This group also includes botanical gardens, arboreta, horticultural programs, and landscape services.

Animal protection and welfare:  This group includes animal shelters and humane societies, such as the ASPCA and PETA.

Wildlife preservation and protection:  This group includes wildlife sanctuaries and refuges, and organizations that work to protect animals from extinction.

Veterinary services:  Animal hospitals and organizations that provide care to farm and household animals and pets.

8)      Health research or education organizations (including public health) include:

Physical and mental health research:  Organizations that do research on specific diseases, disorders, or medical disciplines.  This group includes health research or fundraising organizations like the American Cancer Society and the American Autism Society.

Public health and wellness education:  Organizations that promote public health and health education.  This group includes sanitation screening for potential health risks, first aid training, and family planning services.


9)       Hospitals, clinics and healthcare organizations include:

Hospitals:  Institutions that offer primarily inpatient medical care and treatment.

Nursing homes:  This group includes inpatient convalescent care, residential nursing facilities, and homes for the frail elderly and severely handicapped.  This group includes hospice care facilities.

Mental health organizations:  This group includes psychiatric hospitals that provide inpatient treatment for mentally ill patients, community mental health centers, and halfway houses.  This group also includes self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs.

Other health services:  This group includes organizations that primarily provide outpatient services such as health clinics, physical therapy centers, and vaccination centers.  This group includes organizations that provide services to handicapped individuals such as transportation, recreation, and group homes for the handicapped.

10)       Immigrant/refugee assistance organizations include:

Organizations that primarily help provide services to immigrants and refugees such as citizenship training, employment assistance, English as a Second Language courses, legal assistance, and housing and health care. Examples of organizations that fall under this category include Lutheran Refugee Services, International Rescue Committee, and Immigration and Refugee Services of America.

11)       International organizations include:

Exchange, friendship and cultural programs:  Groups that work to promote mutual respect and friendship internationally.  This group includes student exchange programs.

Development assistance associations:  Groups that sponsor programs and projects that promote social and economic development abroad.

International disaster relief organizations:  Groups that collect, channel, and provide aid to other countries during times of disaster or emergency.  This group includes Doctors without Borders.

International human rights and peace organizations:  Organizations that promote and monitor human rights and peace internationally.  This group includes Amnesty International.

12)      Labor unions, and business or professional organizations include:

Labor unions:  Organizations that promote, protect, and regulate the rights and interests of employees.

Business associations:  Organizations that work to promote, regulate, and safeguard interests of special branches of business such as manufacturers’ associations, farmers’ associations, and  bankers’ associations.

Professional organizations:  Organizations that promote, regulate, and protect the interests of specific professions like bar associations and medical associations.

13)       Political parties or Advocacy Groups include:

Political organizations:  Organizations that provide services to support placing candidates into political office at the local, state and national level.  This includes getting information out about the candidates, public relations activities and political fundraising.

Advocacy organizations:  Organizations that protect the rights and promote the interests of specific groups of people, such as the physically handicapped, the elderly, children, or women.

Civil rights organizations:  Organizations that work to protect or preserve individual civil liberties and human rights.

Ethnic associations:  Organizations that promote the interests of, or provide services to, individuals of a specific ethnic heritage.

Consumer protection associations:  Organizations that protect consumer rights, or that seek to improve product control and quality.

14)      Public safety organizations include:

Crime prevention and safety: This includes organizations that promote safety and precautionary measures among citizens. This group includes police auxiliary associations, volunteer fire departments, and neighborhood crime watch groups.

15)      Sports and hobby groups include:

Sports:  Organizations that provide amateur sports for people 16-years old or older, training, physical fitness, sport competition, and events.  This group includes fitness and wellness centers.

Social clubs:  This group includes organizations that provide recreational facilities and services to individuals and communities that include playground associations, men’s and women’s clubs, touring clubs, and leisure clubs.


16)      Youth services organizations include:

Organizations that provide volunteer opportunities for young people. Organizations that provide volunteer services to young adults, and at-risk-children or youths are included in this category. Organizations that teach life skills such as parenting skills, entrepreneurship, and money management to young people are included in this category. Groups like Big Brothers/ Big Sisters and scouting troops are classified here.

Child welfare, child services, and daycare: This includes services to children like adoption or foster care organizations, and child development and daycare centers.


1) Coach, referee, or supervise sports teams
  • Coaching, refereeing, umpiring, keeping score, and training
2) Tutor or teach
  • Reading to children or adults
  • Assisting teachers
  • Helping with homework or school projects
  • Teaching Bible study or Sunday school
3) Mentor youth
  • Being a Boy Scout/Girl Scout Leader
  • Being a Big Brother/Big Sister
  • Providing social support to young people through a consistent and sustained relationship to help them imporve in a varitey of areas as peer and family relationships, self-esteem, or motivation and attitude.
4) Be an Usher, greeter, or minister
  • Going door-to-door preaching
  • Being a lector, acolyte, or chalice bearer
  • Showing people to their seats, ushering, giving directions, handing out programs and other materials.
5) Collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food
  • Preparing for sale at a fundraiser
  • Serving food at a kitchen.  Preparing or serving food for a picnic for church or other group
  • Collecting or distributing food for a food bank
  • Stacking or inventorying food at a shelter

Does not include donating respondent's own food to a charitable organization.

6) Collect, make, or distribute clothing, crafts, or goods other than food
  • Collecting clothing from neighbors to donate to a charitable organization
  • Making quilts to sell a flea market or church bazaar
  • Distributing blankets or clothing to the homeless

Does not include donating respondent's own clothes or other property to a charitable organization.

7) Fundraise or sell items to raise money
  • Manning concession booths
  • Working in thrift stores or gift shops
  • Getting people to sponsor you for a fundraiser 
  • Collecting money 
  • Taking tickets 
  • Working at a car wash or bake sale

Does not include paid work.

8) Provide couseling, medical care, fire/EMS or protective services 
  • Pastoral, marital, family or youth counseling, guidance counseling, or doing pet therapy
  • Working on a hot line
  • Providing free medical or dental care
  • Being a volunteer firefighter or EMT
  • Participating in search and rescue efforts
  • Working in an evacuation shelter
  • Doing neighborhood crime watch
  • Providing security or working as a crossing guard.

Does not include donating blood or selling health products.

9) Provide general office services
  • Clerical duties such as answering phones, filing, and stuffing envelopes
  • Running errands
  • Manning information booths
  • Shopping, gift wrapping

Does not include "good neighbor" deeds or other activities 

NOT done for or through an organization, professional services, or paid work.

10) Provide professional or management assistance, including serving on a board or committee
  • Providing legal, technical, or financial services for free
  • Giving haircuts, manicures, or massages for free
  • Translating, signing for the deaf, or interpreting
  • Marching in parades, being a flag bearer, participating in an Honor Guard
  • Decorating, designing, sewing, mending, or crocheting
  • Hosting a radio show
  • Any unpaid committee work such as serving on a homeowner's association, being president of a social club, or being in charge of recruitment for a professional organization
  • Attending meetings as a board or committee member

Does not include working on projects or events.

Does not include carpentry work, general office work, physical labor, or any work done for pay. 

Does not include medical or emergency care. 

11) Engage in music, performance or other artistic activities 
  • Acting, dancing, directing, staging, working the lights or the sound board at a performance
  • Painting, drawing, or sculpting things to donate
  • Singing in a choir, being a cantor, playing the organ, or working with the choir
12) Engage in general labor; supply transportation for people
  • Building, repairing, or cleaning indoors or outdoors
  • Picking up trash, or adopt-a-highway programs
  • Doing carpentry, house painting, or laundry
  • Driving school teams to games or practices
  • Driving people to political rallies, church, medical appointments, or on other errands
  • Driving the blood mobile
  • Driving around handing out food or blankets to the homeless

Does not include paid work.

Does not include "good neighbor" deeds or other activities NOT done for or through an organization.

13) Other
  • Political campaigning and activities 
  • Registering people to vote
  • Any other activities which do not belong in one of the above categories


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