Points of Light Releases Global Family Volunteering Research Findings, Underwritten by The Walt Disney Company

The Global Volunteerism Journey Report shares insights on family volunteer trends in Brazil, France, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, and United States

ATLANTA| Oct 18, 2018

Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, released the “Global Volunteerism Journey Report,” a first-of-its-kind study that examines the similarities and differences in family volunteering from five countries around the world. Underwritten by The Walt Disney Company, the study was commissioned to assess the global state of volunteerism and key barriers to overcome, identify solutions and opportunities to increase family volunteering, and understand the best ways to communicate opportunities.

Central to the research are five global truths – critical insights that shed light on how nonprofits can meet families where they are to engage them in meaningful volunteer work. These include:

  1. Both adults and children spend their limited free time on activities that are low commitment and allow them to bond with others.
  2. While benefitting the community is still a top priority, there is also a desire to personally benefit from the volunteer experience.
  3. Promoting local volunteer opportunities could increase engagement, since more are willing to participate if the activity can be done in/around the home or school.
  4. Word of mouth will help build awareness of volunteer activities and events. Messaging should include simple, direct language.
  5. Adults, children, key subgroups and markets all have different motivators and barriers to family volunteering. A successful approach volunteer strategy will tailor to these groups.

“Our commitment to creating a civic culture starts by creating a deeper global understanding of what it means to volunteer as a family,” said Natalye Paquin, president and CEO, Points of Light. “This knowledge can help local nonprofits turn data into insights, becoming more equipped to meet people where they are, make volunteering fun and engaging for all, and inspire people to get involved in their community.”

Kelton, a strategic consultancy that helps global businesses discover new paths to growth, surveyed more than 2,900 participants from eight global markets. Participants ranged from age 5 to age 55+. Points of Light affiliates, nonprofit partners who are the leaders of volunteerism in their communities, advising on the design and development of the Global Volunteerism Journey Report include One OC, Chicago Cares, HandsOn Bay Area and Hands On Orlando, HandsOn HongKong, Hands On London, ATADOS (Brazil), and Benenova (France).

Additional key findings of the report highlight the impact and potential of volunteering as a family, both for a positive volunteer experience and family bonding time, as well as to create positive impact on community issues. Some of those highlights include:

  • 47% of adults have said they volunteered, but only 34% said they have volunteered with family.
  • 63% of adults said they felt fulfilled after volunteering, and 55% of children said they felt proud.
  • Children are much more likely to volunteer with a parent (80%), while only 50% of adults said they have volunteered with their child.
  • Only 1 in 4 recent volunteers encouraged their children to participate in volunteer events.
  • Top barriers to volunteering included “not given the opportunity” and “hard to find opportunities.”

In an effort to put these helpful insights into practice, Points of Light is presenting this data at the International Association of Volunteer Effort’s 25th Annual World Volunteer Conference. Additionally, working with organizations around the world, including The Walt Disney Company, Points of Light will hold Family Volunteer Day on Nov. 17, 2018. Now in its 28th year, Family Volunteer Day is a day of service that celebrates the power of families who work together to support their communities and neighborhoods. Leveraging the newly launched report and their institutional knowledge, Points of Light will be providing counsel and grants to nonprofits to organize their own local service projects. The grants, made possible by the generous support of The Walt Disney Company, will support the eight Points of Light Network affiliates, as well as 100 grantees nationwide.

To assist with providing geography-specific insights, an e-book for each country drills further down to explore unique family volunteer trends and challenges in each individual country.


Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 5 million volunteers in 20 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.

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