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CNCS Publishes New Research (“Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment”); Announces Availability of $14 Million to Support Adults Over 55 in Volunteer Activities
Jun 19, 2013

A groundbreaking new report from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provides the most compelling empirical evidence to date establishing an association between volunteering and employment.

The study, “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment: Does Volunteering Increase Odds of Finding a Job for the Out of Work?” finds that unemployed individuals who volunteer have 27 percent higher odds of finding a job than non-volunteers. The relationship between volunteering and employment holds stable regardless of a person’s gender, age, ethnicity, geographical area, or job market conditions.

The federal agency used 10 years of data from the Census Bureau and analyzed a nationally representative sample of more than 70,000 individuals 16 years or older who were looking for work. The report examines their volunteer and employment status over two years to determine whether there was a relationship between volunteering and securing a job.  

The report’s finding of a 27 percent increase in odds of employment was statistically significant.   The association between volunteering and employment remained consistent across each year of the study period and varying unemployment rates, suggesting that volunteering may provide an advantage regardless of economic conditions. Importantly, the relationship was strongest among individuals without a high school diploma (51 percent increase in odds) and individuals who live in rural areas (55 percent increase in odds).  

Prior research has shown that volunteering can increase a person’s social connections and professional contacts (social capital) and skills and experiences (human capital), two factors that are positively related to employment outcomes. In addition, some workers may see volunteering as a possible entry route into a new field or organization where they would like to work.

Promoting volunteer service as a pathway for employment and opportunity has been a priority of CNCS.  The agency provides vital leadership and support to America’s voluntary sector through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Volunteer Generation Fund, and other programs.  Last year, the agency engaged more than five million Americans in service to meet local needs and built the capacity of thousands of nonprofits to more effectively recruit and manage volunteers. 

The connection between volunteering and employment has also been promoted by the Department of Labor, which issued policy guidance last year recognizing that volunteering can help expand opportunity for unemployed individuals by enabling them to develop and maintain skills, expand their network of contacts, and enhance their resumes. The guidance encouraged state workforce agencies to promote volunteering by individuals receiving unemployment compensation.

News Release

The CNCS also has recently released the RSVP 2014 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) competition today to provide local nonprofit and public agencies an opportunity to increase their capacity by engaging adults age 55 and older in high impact with volunteer service. 
CNCS anticipates it will award more than $14 million to local organizations which will sponsor RSVP programs. This RSVP competition is expected to yield more than 92,000 senior volunteers who will serve in the six CNCS focus areas: disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families.

The 2014 RSVP funding competition builds on a successful competition in 2013, which resulted in 80,000 senior volunteers serving in more than 208 local organizations in 35 states across the nation.

Letters of intent to apply are due on August 9, 2013.  The deadline for applications is Tuesday, September 10, 2013,

News Release w/ Application Requirements