A new study finds volunteerism in Indianapolis is on the rise.
The Corporation for National and Community Service ranks the city 16th in the country when it comes to volunteering.
That is up 11 spots from the previous year.
“The people of the Indianapolis metro area should be proud of their strong leadership in volunteering,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “Volunteers enrich our communities and keep our nation strong. Service to others also connects us with our neighbors and provides us a chance to use our own skills for the common good. As citizens, there are so many ways we can make a difference for those who are in need, during this holiday season and throughout the entire year.”
Volunteer Center Director at the United Way of Central Indiana, Alan Witchey, says the improvement is driven by the needs of both the volunteers and recipients.
"What we heard from our nonprofit partners was that they were seeing more volunteers who were either unemployed or underemployed and looking to build skills or maintain skills or increasingly young people who were graduating and really struggling to find jobs," he said. "So, they were going into volunteer positions to get experience."
He says volunteers are 27 percent more likely to find jobs than others and the more there are in the community means a greater impact for the organizations they serve.
"People realize if you have a strong set of volunteers, you can do more in the community and you can do it for less money," he said.
The report found that more than 29 percent of Indianapolis residents volunteered last year, giving nearly 70 million hours of service, worth more than $1.5 billion.
"I still think there are a lot of people who are unemployed or underemployed and struggling to survive. And I think more and more commonly, everybody knows somebody that is struggling to get by," he said. "People want to make a difference. They want to give back. They want to make their community a better place and one of the easiest ways to do that is through volunteering."