MySeniorCenter Fun Facts

Friday, April 1st, 2022

The history of volunteer organizations in North America has its earliest roots in social services and health care. Benjamin Franklin formed the first volunteer firehouse in 1736. Faith-based organizations like Society of Saint Vincent de Paul were introduced in Eastern Canada in the 1800s to provide assistance to the elderly and penniless following deadly epidemics. Ladies' Aid Societies provided medical supplies and treatment to soldiers during the American Civil War. When Senior Centers were first formed in the mid-1900s, they were a natural environment for continuing this spirit of caring and support.

April is volunteer appreciation month, and we're proud to present you with an edition of Fun Facts that is dedicated to all of the people who support you and your participants by choice, with no concern for monetary benefit. Volunteers help us survive and thrive! In this issue you'll learn more about volunteerism rates, the number of hours donated, and profiles of volunteers from across the MySeniorCenter Network. Plus, there's a new, downloadable word cloud at the bottom of this column that shows some popular ways that volunteers help Centers.

Welcome to...Fun Facts - the Giving is Living edition


Count On Me

As a baseline for each year, we calculate the number of volunteers who contribute at least one hour as a percentage of total participants at a Center. In 2016 we reached the highest volunteerism rate ever (well, at least for as long as we've been tracking it). In that year, there were slightly more than 7 volunteers for every 100 participants. That's a great rate. Over the next few years, it dropped to a low of 5% in 2020. The pandemic was certainly the reason for the decrease since people weren't able to come to the Center to help out. In 2021, we saw an amazing increase - which shows the power of the Senior Center to engage, and the wonderful spirit of giving. At 8.2%, and in difficult circumstances, we have a new record for volunteerism.

You've Got A Friend In Me

Many volunteers are also participants and/or retired from their earlier careers. That's why the middle flowers in the age chart below resembles the age chart of participants. But what stands out is the number of under 55 volunteers. That's new and exciting. While there has always been a core group of volunteers under age 55, it's always been about 5% of the overall group. In 2021, it was 13%! Congratulations to you for recruiting a new audience.

You Are My Sunshine

It turns out that increase in under 55 volunteers was almost exclusively driving and delivery related. As we know, home-delivered meals and transportation needs soared during the pandemic and these amazing people helped fill in the gaps.

We also wanted to dive deeper into the characteristics of all volunteers in order to create a profile. The FBI isn't the only one that can have fun with profiles to find people! Here's what we found:

Broadly, there are two types of volunteers: people who participate at the Center and then become volunteers, and people who volunteer from outside of the participant group. They both share similar characteristics. So, the next time you come across a 70-year-old married person wearing workout clothes and sending a text, make sure you tell them about the great opportunities to volunteer at your Center!

Who'll Stop The Rain?

Volunteers, of course! As we saw in 2021, when times were tough, volunteering rose to new heights. What you do inspires others to help. While the majority of volunteers contribute less than 40 hours per year, there are a handful that work 10+ hours per week!

You Raise Me Up

We worked with our designer to come up with a couple of different images (dark on light and light on dark) showcasing the amazing things that volunteers do to support you and your participants. Feel free to download these and use them however you see fit. Speaking of fit, these would make for a great t-shirt design at your volunteer appreciation party. Just sayin'...
To Download the light on dark version shown above, click here.

For the dark on light, click here.