Children, Giving and Volunteering

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Christopher Einolf, Northern Illinois University and NVSQ author

When my daughter was born twelve years ago, my whole life changed overnight: gone were the days of slowly cooked meals, relaxing on Saturday afternoons, and going out at every weekend with friends. Time became very scarce, with long sleepless nights, loads of laundry, cooking and cleaning. Just getting to work on time was a challenge; doing things outside of work seemed impossible. Expenses went up too, with doctor bills, baby furniture, clothes, and car seats.

A new baby is a wonderful thing, but a new baby places huge demands on parents’ resources of money and time. How does the arrival of a baby affect a parent’s charitable giving and volunteering? And what happens when the baby grows older – does parents’ giving and volunteering change again? These questions were the subject of my recent NVSQ article, “Parents’ charitable giving and volunteering: Are they influenced by their children’s ages and life transitions? Evidence from a longitudinal study in the United States.” Continue reading “Children, Giving and Volunteering”

Declining Volunteering and the Pressing Need to Ask Others to Help

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Jaclyn Piatak, University of North Carolina and NVSQ author

Unemployed volunteers devote more time but are less likely to receive an invitation to volunteer. America’s democracy heavily relies on a strong voluntary sector, where all citizens should be represented, or at least have the option, with everyone having an equal likelihood of being asked. Yet dedicated individuals may not volunteer simply because no one asks them.

Much research has examined who volunteers. Several social and demographic characteristics are associated with volunteering; from being white, female, and married to having a job and higher levels of education. Researchers often refer to this as dominant status model, where factors associated with prestige and respect in America increase a person’s likelihood of being asked to volunteer. Continue reading “Declining Volunteering and the Pressing Need to Ask Others to Help”