New York is not the volunteer state

top volunteer activities in Albany

The top four volunteer activities in this metro area.

From a report called Volunteering in America, based on averages from 2006-2009:

The Albany metro area has 200,000 volunteers
27.1% of residents volunteer - ranking them 44th among the 75 Mid-size cities
34.7 hours per resident - ranking them 44th within the 75 Mid-size cities
$532.2 million of service contributed here

Here's the full rundown for this metro area.

The report includes a list of "community factors that may influence Albany's volunteer rate" -- but in Albany's case they would seem to indicate that more people in this area would be volunteering.

New York State did terribly in the rankings -- 51st among all states (and DC) for percentage of people who volunteer. NYC probably accounts for a lot of that -- it's volunteer rate was 50th among 51 large cities.

Here are the national rankings.

The federal government produced the report based on data collected by the Census Bureau.

[via the TU's Chris Churchill]

Earlier on AOA:
+ From 2008: Know of a great place to volunteer?

graph: Volunteering in America


This is shameful! People need to stop being so self-centered and self-concerned and step up!!! I volunteer once a week with Literacy Volunteers, helping an adult who needs help with reading and writing skills. LV helps both ESL (English as a Second Language) students and American students. They have a long waiting list of people who need help, they just don't have enough volunteers.

I lived in NYC for five years and volunteered approximately 4X a week for two years straight for LIFEbeat. Beyond that I would volunteer on a one-off basis (depending on my schedule). It can be done and especially in NYC volunteers are needed in so many areas. Everyone I knew volunteered in some capacity or another (this was 1998-2002).

When I moved to Seattle and had no job, I found the organization Seattle Works, whose mission it is to get people in their 20s and 30s to volunteer at all levels. I did a lot of low-level, physical volunteering and I also went through a program that helped me become a board member for a small, working board of volunteers at a non-profit that had only one staff person.

Giving to others, thinking beyond ourselves, these things are what separate us from the animals who do nothing but compete, breed, and kill each other.

I'll say it again - it's shameful! These statistics are sad. Volunteering is one of the greatest things you can do for YOURSELF not just others - the rewards reaped are incredible.


+1 xina

I hate to sound negative, but it's not easy to volunteer in the Capital Region sometimes. (And I'm someone who volunteers on average of 8-10 hours a week over the year through different projects, much of that from home.)

I've sent (or called) in offers to volunteer and not been contacted for 18 months. Or been repeatedly sent shift offers on weekdays when I've told them I work. If you work, you can't always call during business offers to find out what the opportunities are and not many organizations are leveraging electronic communication for maximum possibilities.

Volunteers are a huge asset for a community, but they take a lot of work and some local organizations are very good at cultivating them, while others aren't. And that experience translates both into how willing a person is to volunteer a second time - either for that organization or any organization.

Not at all surprised.

White flight is a major problem everywhere, but the way it manifested here did far more to devastate the once-major cities than it did to cities on the west coast. It created a serious underpopulation problem, generating in places like Albany and Schenectady a killer combination of condemned housing, empty office buildings, and abandoned public schools. Of course civic engagement is in the tank here. Many of the folks who have the time and money to participate in civic activities have all fled to the suburbs, and folks who still live in the city are often too busy making ends meet, or are so overwhelmed by what must be done that they wonder "how to begin/why bother."

"We are the hollow men, we are the stuffed men, leaning together, headpiece filled with straw." Think of all those professionals who work a job in Albany, but don't work for the people of Albany (aka, volunteer), and who then take Albany's money back to their suburbs. Underpopulation doesn't just ruin a city's exterior; it can eat away at its core. One of the reasons why I love AOA is that it shows me that Albany isn't truly heartless - there are people who care for the place and want to participate in the community in various ways.

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