Friday, December 13, 2013

A Survey of Former Volunteers of Catholic Volunteer Network

Former volunteers often share how much they feel like they've been changed by their experience as a volunteer.  Sometimes people volunteer and meet their future spouse, decide to change a career path, or go back to school.  Until now, most of our understanding of the power of full-time service has been anecdotal. 

Recently Catholic Volunteer Network (CVN), an umbrella organization that supports domestic and international faith-based service programs (including Franciscan Outreach Volunteers), commissioned a survey with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University: "A Study of Former Volunteers of the Catholic Volunteer Network".

The survey looked at responses from more than 5,000 alums of volunteer programs and results were shared at the CVN annual conference in November.  Questions included demographic and background information, as well as questions about alums experiences with their volunteer program and their lives post-service.  The following is taken from Catholic Volunteer Network.

Some significant study findings include:

On service-
  • 98% of former volunteers said they decided to serve because they "felt compassion towards people in need." The same percentage also believe that their volunteer service experience made them a better person.
  • 95% say that they would recommend their volunteer program to others.
On faith-
  •  Nearly half (46%) of former volunteers attend religious services at least once a week.  This is significantly higher than the U.S. population (27%) and the U.S. Catholic population (25%).
  • Almost two in five former volunteers (37%) have considered a vocation to ordained ministry or religious life.  27% of these respondents have considered a vocation very seriously, and 35% say they have considered this somewhat seriously.
On life-
  • More than two-thirds of former volunteers (67%) say their volunteer service was either 'somewhat' or 'very' important in influencing their choice of career. 
  • Almost half of former volunteers are married (47%).  Excluding respondents who say that they have never been married, just under one in ten (9%) have ever divorced.  This is much lower than the corresponding proportion of the U.S. population (31%).
  • More than eight in ten responding former volunteers (82%) say that they have volunteered time, donated money or property, or both in the past 12 months. 

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