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The Gift of Time: Volunteering
The United States has a rich history of volunteerism. People volunteer for a variety of reasons: Doing so is a productive way to be engaged, people have a desire to share their good fortune with the less fortunate, or people have a belief in or passion for a cause. Regardless of the motivation, volunteerism is an integral facet of American life. Volunteer efforts extend beyond responding to major events—such as providing disaster relief and recovery efforts—to improving everyday lives of individuals and communities. Financial providers can benefit by supporting volunteer efforts that align with the efforts of their customers. Working together builds trust in, and allegiance to, your institution. For example, contributions to hunger relief in Africa might be laudable, but hunger relief in communities in which you do business touches the hearts not just of recipients but also of community leaders and volunteers with a passion for the cause.
About one-quarter of US household heads (26%) volunteer for a cause. More heads (39%) volunteer in their community than in any other location; almost one-third of volunteers work on local and global issues such as hunger relief; almost one in ten volunteer for the environment.
Although volunteers exist across all age groups and geographies, the most important reason for financial providers to consider volunteer-effort support is the volunteers themselves. The majority of volunteers are well-educated professionals and managers with higher-than-average household incomes, financial assets, and net worth. Volunteers are particularly desirable targets for investment firms, because 59% have an investment account. Busy— and skeptical of advertising, many volunteers are difficult to attract if they are not already your customers. Rather than advertising products, demonstrating a long-term commitment to a cause about which they feel strongly is a subtle but effective method to attract their attention.