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Volunteer Washington: A Case for Community Volunteerism

A campaign to increase volunteerism in Washington State

Congrats Washington! We rank #11 among all states in terms of volunteer rate, according to the 2015 report from the Corporation for National and Community Service on volunteerism in 2014.

In 2014, 1.61 million volunteers dedicated 155.3 million hours of service at a value of $3.6 billion.

Working together over the next three years we can increase our 32.9% rate of volunteerism, perhaps exceeding #4 ranked Minnesota at 35.3%. Did you know: If we increase the rate of volunteerism in our state by just .5% that means another $20 million worth of volunteer time?

Why rev up our efforts to recruit volunteers? Volunteers are the one resource that we can grow and sustain to counter the impacts of unemployment, increased housing, food, and financial insecurity, stalled hopes, and cutbacks in nonprofit and government programs. People in our state need our help now. There is something everyone can do.

The Volunteer Washington vision is to create an effective volunteer ecosystem that enables volunteers to address the needs of communities throughout the state of Washington. Read the entire plan here.

The plan highlights the impact of volunteers in our state, and presents the case for added infrastructure to increase that impact further. Yet, the plan’s success will depend on aligning the actions of nonprofits, government, faith-based, and tribal organizations, and our business partners. Together, we can use volunteerism as a means to strengthen communities in our state.

It is our goal to present a compelling vision for volunteerism in Washington, provide a framework for addressing volunteer issues, identify strategies for investment in volunteer infrastructure, and outline specific actions to strengthen volunteer infrastructure.

Can we do it? You bet! Washington residents care.

There is a strong tradition of volunteerism in Washington state. Washington has also seen huge success with national service programs, such as AmeriCorps. Unfortunately, like other states, Washington's volunteer rate fell back just as needs in nonprofits and communities were rising. This is in part because nonprofits do not have the funding they need to support volunteer programs. Washington Serves seeks to address these issues by identifying potential causes of under-funding, dispelling harmful myths about volunteerism, and making a strong case for the many benefits of cultivating a healthy volunteer ecosystem.

There is much to do and many hands willing to help. Join our campaign. Be a champion of volunteerism!