Points of Light, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to accelerating people-powered change, today released its first global report, revealing key trends in civic engagement and providing actionable takeaways for businesses, non-profits and individuals. The research is released as Points of Light kicks off Global Volunteer Month, a time to recognize the impact of volunteering on society’s greatest challenges. Points of Light’s Civic Life Today: The State of Global Civic Engagement surveyed respondents in the U.S., the U.K., Brazil and India, to provide insight on issues driving people to civic engagement and expectations around volunteering.
“This research is crucial for businesses and nonprofits to understand the challenges society is facing and the motivations of employees and consumers looking to enact change,” said Natalye Paquin, president and CEO of Points of Light. “There is a new expectation that businesses and nonprofits must support people by making it easier for them to act effectively.”
Among its findings, the global study revealed:
- Volunteering is ranked among the most important activities since the pandemic, but by varying degrees among countries. 54% of global respondents said, “I plan to volunteer more than I did before the pandemic.” India and Brazil showed substantially more commitment to increasing volunteerism with the U.S. and the U.K. showing less commitment to increasing how much they volunteer.
- Globally, individuals share most interest in supporting education, environment and healthcare. Across the countries responding, healthcare, education and environment/climate uniformly demand attention. India (59%) and Brazil (70%) were most focused on education, the U.K. (52%) on environment/climate and the U.S. (48%) on healthcare.
- Finances remain one of the largest barriers to engagement. Two of the top three reasons people cited for a lack of social issue involvement were financial in nature. This reflects the public’s continued perception that being involved with a cause, nonprofit or NGO means giving money. Organizations have much work to do in educating current and potential audiences about the many ways they can influence change.
- Corporations have an obligation to act. Nearly every respondent in India (95%) and Brazil (90%) and two-thirds of those in the U.S. and U.K. said they expect companies to address social challenges. However, while people have high expectations for corporate involvement in social issues, consumers have low desire for a company to involve them directly. Respondents will measure a company’s sincerity in its social actions by the way it treats its employees.
- Nontraditional forms of engagement are the new normal. The most common actions taken to support issues were using one’s voice (posted or shared content on social media), listen and learn (took time to learn about a cause or social issue) and volunteerism (intentionally helped someone else).
The report also supports Points of Light’s Civic Circle. The Civic Circle is a framework to help companies around the world create a variety of workforce service commitments by giving them tools to institute and streamline their volunteer processes – a critical resource now more than ever. “The most powerful force in the world is the individual who has realized their power to make change happen,” said Paquin.
You can view the full civic engagement report here. On Tuesday, May 10 at 1 pm ET, Points of Light will host a special webinar with INFLUENCE|SG to discuss the research findings in more detail. You can click here to register.
About Points of Light
Points of Light is a nonpartisan, global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world. We envision a world in which every individual discovers the power to make a difference, creating healthy communities in vibrant, participatory societies. Through 177 affiliates across 38 countries, and in partnership with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 5 million volunteers in 16 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, visit www.pointsoflight.org.
INFLUENCE|SG is a global research and advisory firm focused on helping companies and causes bolster their social change initiatives by informing through new insights and guiding through strategy. We create and drive public involvement in our clients’ social change work. Influencesg.com.