Here’s why volunteering is important and how to get involved

90% of Americans say its worthwhile, yet 3 out of 4 people don’t volunteer

ORLANDO, Fla. – A national survey taken before the pandemic found 90% of all Americans thought volunteering was worthwhile, but three out of four didn’t take the steps to do it.

After a big drop in face-to-face volunteering during COVID, Americans may be feeling ready to reconnect with their communities, whether it is building a house, making a meal, or mentoring a child.

“What are you passionate about? What gets you up in the morning or keeps you up at night,” said Lee Pike, the development manager of the nonprofit clearing house Activate Good.

Last year alone, Activate Good matched 10,000 people with opportunities, impacting more than 115,000 people.

For Nancy Sheehan, who was new to the area and lonely during COVID, it meant a chance to use 20 years of experience as a school librarian.

“If there’s one thing I know, the end of the school year is a mess,” Sheehan said.

During her volunteer hours each week, Sheehan brings order to chaos.

Studies have shown that volunteering improves self-esteem, increases social skills, and provides purpose.

“There are very impactful ways you can contribute, even with just an hour a week,” Pike said.

Are you working from home? Well, COVID has created ongoing virtual opportunities. Make a global impact with United Nations volunteers online. The Smithsonian needs digital volunteers to transcribe historical documents. And dosomthing.org invites young people to use media for social change.

Lee Pike said she works to overcome some of the perceived drawbacks, like volunteering, requires too much time, or it’s too tough to find a good match.

Nationwide, you can find opportunities by interest, geographical location, and time commitment at pointsoflight.org.