Volunteers Report Improved Physical, Emotional Health

In an online survey of a national sample of 4,582 Americans over the age of 18 conducted in February and March 2010, 41 percent of respondents volunteered in the past year, while seven in 10 reported they donated money to an organization, despite the current economic hardships.

Of the volunteers, 84 percent agreed that volunteering improves physical health, and 95 percent agreed that volunteering also improves emotional health. Additionally, 96 percent of volunteers agreed that volunteering makes people happier.

The study, sponsored by UnitedHealth Group and VolunteerMatch identified some of the key health benefits of volunteering.

Volunteering and Health:

  • 68% of volunteers agree that “volunteering has made me feel physically healthier.”
  • 89% of volunteers agree that “volunteering has improved my sense of well-being.”
  • 73% of volunteers agree that “volunteering lowers my stress levels.”

Volunteering and Satisfaction with Life:

  • 92% of volunteers agree that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose in life.
  • Volunteers are significantly more likely (72%) to characterize themselves as “optimistic” compared to non-volunteers (60%).

Among those who volunteer through work:

  • 84% agree that “more people would volunteer if their employers helped provide the means and the motivation.”
  • 81% agree that “volunteering with work colleagues has strengthened our relationships.”
  • 76% agree that “I feel better about my employer because of their involvement in my volunteer activities.”
  • 88% of all volunteers agree that volunteering provides networking/career development opportunities.

The good news? We can consider how to use this information, available on the UnitedHealth Group-VolunteerMatch Fact sheet (PDF) to recruit volunteers and promote volunteerism in general.

Read more about the study, including the methodology in the UnitedHealth Group’s press release at their website.

Does your place of work promote community volunteering? How would this information factor into that decision?

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