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Find news you can use on a variety of topics; opportunities to raise money, changes in postage rates; statistics and facts that impact volunteer programs; and more.

~ July 2007 ~ Topics

Declining Volunteerism And Civic Engagement Threaten Canada’s Communities At Their Core
Sponsor a National Conference for Managers of Volunteer Programs
The US Nonprofit Sector: A Snapshot
Health Benefits of Volunteering

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bullet Declining Volunteerism And Civic Engagement Threaten Canada’s Communities At Their Core bullet

Volunteerism and civic engagement are eroding in Canada, and two of the country's leading experts predict an enormous impact on communities if leaders across the country don't respond. Who Cares? was launched to spotlight the urgent need for action in communities across Canada, and to protect Canadian values.

The value of volunteering in the country is staggeringly high but largely unnoticed. Community organizations rely on voluntary contributions in one form or another – the arts, education, healthcare, the environment, sports and recreation, faith communities, neighborhoods, service clubs, disaster response, children's programs, family services, supports for seniors, and civilian defense.

emcee imageLinda L. Graff, noted author and voluntary sector specialist, and Paul B. Reed, Carleton University Professor and Senior Social Scientist, Statistics Canada, have started a national conversation about the future of communities – the Who Cares? project. Drawing from the most comprehensive data ever assembled on this issue, Graff & Reed have produced a series of engaging audio conversations to enlighten and inspire Canadians with a way-of-life wake-up call based on compelling, but troubling research findings. Local elected politicians, chambers of commerce, and other leaders in business, industry and the nonprofit sector are being urged to take action immediately.

bullet To download a free copy or get more information, go to: http://www.canadawhocares.ca/.

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Sponsor a National Conference for Managers of Volunteer Programs

bulletLocal associations of managers of volunteer program and/or other non-profits organizations are invited to explore partnerships to serve as host for the 2008 Association of Volunteer Resource Managers National Conference. It is to be held in October of 2008. A conference-planning manual is available at the AVRM Web site: http://www.avrm.org/.

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The US Nonprofit Sector: A Snapshot

The National Council of Nonprofit Associations has released a report on nonprofits in the United States. Here are some fast facts. The full report is available by clicking here.

    • There were a total of 837,027 charitable nonprofits in the United States, excluding foundations and religious congregations in 2003.
    • 288,150 charitable nonprofits had gross receipts of over $25,000 in 2003 and filed IRS Form 990. These organizations are often referred to as “reporting” nonprofits.
    • Total assets of all reporting nonprofits were $1.76 trillion.
    • Of the nonprofits filing IRS 990 forms in 2003:
      • 34% were in human services
      • 18% were in education
      • 13% were in health care/mental health
      • 11% were in community improvement, societal or public
      • 10% were in arts and humanities
      • 6% were in religious related or spiritual development
      • 4% were in environment or animal welfare
      • 3% were all others
      • 1% scientific and research

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Health Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteers help themselves to better health while helping others, according to a study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service that reviews a compelling collection of recent scientific research.doctor image

The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health. The report shows that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease.

"Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger," said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation. "More than 61 million Americans volunteer to improve conditions for people in need and to unselfishly give of themselves. While the motivation is altruistic, it is gratifying to learn that their efforts are returning considerable health benefits."

The Health Benefits of Volunteering documents major findings from more than 30 rigorous and longitudinal studies that reviewed the relationship between health and volunteering, with particular emphasis on studies that seek to determine the causal connection between the two factors. The studies, which were controlled for other factors, found that volunteering leads to improved physical and mental health.

leaf image Research suggests that volunteering is particularly beneficial to the health of older adults and those serving 100 hours annually. According to the report:

    • A study of adults age 65 and older found that the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental health is due to the personal sense of accomplishment an individual gains from his or her volunteer activities.
    • Another study found that volunteering led to lower rates of depression in individuals 65 and older.
    • A Duke study found that individuals who volunteered after experiencing heart attacks reported reductions in despair and depression – two factors that that have been linked to mortality in post-coronary artery disease patients.
    • An analysis of longitudinal data found that individuals over 70 who volunteered approximately 100 hours had less of a decline in self-reported health and functioning levels, experienced lower levels of depression, and had more longevity.
    • Two studies found that volunteering threshold is about 100 hours per year, or about two hours a week. Individuals who reached the threshold enjoyed significant health benefits, although there were not additional benefits beyond the 100-hour mark.

"This is good news for people who volunteer," said Robert Grimm, Director of the Corporation’s Office of Research and Policy Development and Senior Counselor to the CEO. This research is particularly relevant to Baby Boomers, who are receiving as well as giving when they help others. Just two hours of volunteering a week can bring meaningful benefits to a person’s body and mind.

bullet For a free copy of the report visit: http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/role_impact/performance_research.asp#HBR.

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