Desire to volunteer not matched by action

An overwhelming majority of Americans are willing to volunteer their time, but a much smaller proportion actually did so in 2006, a new survey says.

A survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans found almost nine in 10 respondents would be willing to volunteer, but fewer than two in three performed a service activity last year.

An even larger gap between intention and action existed across some volunteer activities, including serving meals to the homeless, tutoring or mentoring at-risk kids and building affordable housing.

And while six in 10 say they are open to volunteering through their place of worship, almost slightly more than that number did so over the past year, the study says.

Roughly half the respondents say giving money was easier than giving time.

Americans want to help people, Brad Hewitt, senior vice president of Thrivent Financial, said in a news release, but “often have trouble fulfilling their volunteer intentions.”

One way to engage those potential volunteers is to increase short-term opportunities that are easily accessible but produce real results, he said.

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