Study: N.C., Triangle in nation's bottom third for volunteering

Posted July 27, 2008

— New rankings of the states and major cities with the most adults volunteering place both North Carolina and the Triangle metro area in the bottom third of their respective categories.

North Carolina's volunteer rate of 27.3 percent ranked 32nd among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., while the Triangle's rate of 26.7 percent garnered the 35th spot among the country's 50 largest metropolitan areas.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency, released a study of volunteerism from 2002 to 2007. The rankings count the volunteer rate from 2007.

The average 225.7 million hours put in annually by North Carolina's 1.8 million volunteers, though, add up: to an estimated economic contribution $4.4 billion.

The Triangle's 223,000 volunteers contribute an average of $516 million to the economy by donating 25.4 million hours, on average, each year.

Religious groups received the greatest share of hours from North Carolina volunteers, claiming 42.8 percent. Education was also a prime concern of volunteers, who donated 22 percent of their hours to such activities.

Social services claimed 12.6 percent of volunteer hours; health causes, 8.5 percent; civic activities, 4.5; sports and the arts, 2.8 percent; and other activities, 6.7 percent.

The main activities of North Carolina volunteers were fundraising, collecting and distributing food, general labor and tutoring or teaching.

Triangle volunteers divided their hours similarly to volunteers statewide; however, they added youth mentoring  as significant activity.

Asheville led the state and placed 12th among the country's 75 largest mid-sized cities, with an average annual volunteer rate of 37.6 percent.

Durham was only slightly behind Asheville, with 37.1 percent of its residents volunteering an average for 45.9 hours annually between 2004 and 2007. Durham was counted as part of the Triangle metro area for national rankings.

Charlotte cracked the top 10 large cities, with a volunteer rate of 32.6 percent. Its 403,000 volunteers donate an average 50.3 million hours each year, for an economic impact of $982 million.


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  • stephenraburn Jul 29, 2008

    As the Executive Director at the Volunteer Center of Durham I can assure you that volunteerism is alive and well here. Every time we've asked this community to step up to the plate and roll up their sleeves, it does... whether it's for our Back to School Supply Drive, Thanksgiving Dinners Program, Share Your Christmas, Great Human Race.... the community comes out in droves to the benefit of dozens of local nonprofits and our neighbors who are down on their luck.

    Corporations such as AICPA, Credit Suisse, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Measurement Incorporated, GlaxoSmithKline and too many more to mention, expect their employees to give back to the community and they do in creative and meaningful ways year-round. The generosity of these companies as well as individuals from all walks of life, civic groups, sororities and fraternities, etc. in terms of time, talent and treasure is impressive (from my perspective) and one of the very best things about Durham.

    Anyone interested in volunteerin

  • oldschooltarheel Jul 28, 2008

    It is common knowledge (documented objectively) that self-described liberals volunteer waaay less than self-described conservatives. They also contribute grossly less to charity. Read this & thought,"Duh. The libs are pros at spending OPM (other people's money)".
    Knew a woman MD, who subscribed to Southern Law Center for Justice or some such nonsense & blathered about illegal aliens are "just looking to work" - turns out she got liens placed on her property & income for nonpayment of income taxes. Ya, too busy trying to direct OPM & OPT (other people's time).

  • cherokee43v6 Jul 28, 2008

    I also find it telling that this article appeared on a Sunday, when comments are blocked from being posted. And also, that it disappeared off of the WRAL homepage almost immediately upon the opening of discussion about the media's role (or lack thereof) in the issue.

  • ncsulilwolf Jul 28, 2008

    It's like my dear friend Ashton wrote in her daily news email today with a link to this article: "clearly these folks don't know Lisa Jeffries". I totally agree that this is quite illustrative of our local media's lack of coverage of more "worthy" events yet mall brawl and drive-by shooting in Fuquay continue to get attention... giving the little "thugs-to-be" more fuel for their fire.

  • cherokee43v6 Jul 28, 2008

    I find this to be a rather stinging indictment of the local media.

    I spent 7 years as a member of a civic organization in Raleigh, running, organizing or assisting with numerous projects that were designed to work best with broader community involvment.

    It was like pulling hen's teeth to get the N&O, Local TV or Local Radio media to even deign to notice us. The most media coverage we received was when the venue for one of our prime projects was sold to a property developer.

    For a prime example, look at the top of this page. Why is there not a tab for "Community" there. Surely there are one or more talented High-School kids out there who WRAL could bring on board to vet community event submissions as their service credits toward graduation and future resumes.

    The Raleigh media needs to remember that it is LOCAL and to serve its community.

    If the media gave community service some coverage they also might get fewer complaints about always having 'Bad News' on.

  • fatherofa4yr Jul 28, 2008

    In this survey it seems to me that a large group was left, what about Volunteer Firefighters and Volunteer EMS. How many communities across the state do not have a paid Fire Department. If they don't, they are covered by volunteers. These people get up in the middle of the night and volunteer there time. Such a sad thing that these true life savors are not more appreciated then they are.