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Americans seen caring but unlikely to act

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Most Americans are more likely to talk about their commitment to positive change than they are to volunteer, says a survey by Porter Novelli.

While more than seven in 10 Americans say certain causes are important to them, fewer than one in five has volunteered to address those causes in the last year.

For half the causes, including literacy, helping the poor and feeding the hungry, fewer than one in 10 Americans donated their time and energy.

Health research saw the widest gap between interest and activism, with seven in 10 Americans expressing their interest and only six in 100 volunteering.

The smallest gap was in volunteer care-giving, with nearly half of Americans expressing interest and more than one in 10 committing their time.

However, there are signs this gap may be narrowing, including high participation in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and a record number of applicants to Teach for America, a program that places recent college graduates in low-resource schools.

“When Teach for America moves into the position of one of the most desirable Ivy-League employers, you know that volunteerism in America has attracted a whole new generation,” Wendy Hagen, director of planning and integration for Porter Novelli, says in a statement.

Porter Novelli is a global public-relations agency with offices in 54 countries.

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