According to a new study released by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies in Baltimore, USA, Rotary International annually mobilises volunteer effort equivalent to nearly 27,000 full-time paid workers.
What is more, this study reveals that the efforts of Rotary volunteers save communities an estimated US$850 million in service costs per year.
The Scope and Scale of Rotary Volunteering presents 10 key findings that powerfully demonstrate the significant renewable resource of volunteer effort that service organisations like Rotary are generating.
Reporting findings at a glance
Finding 1 – Rotary’s volunteer ‘workforce’ gave 47 million volunteer hours a year and counting.
Finding 2 – Rotary volunteers amount to the equivalent of nearly 27,000 full-time workers. That is nearly 50 times more than Rotary’s 563 paid staff across the globe.
Finding 3 – Rotary’s efforts save communities US$850 million per year. That is nearly 9 times Rotary’s annual budget.
Finding 4 – 98% of Rotary members said the organisation’s focus on delivering service was important to them joining.
Finding 5 – Though only representing 24% of Rotary members, Rotary women accounted for a disproportionate 26% of Rotary volunteer hours.
Finding 6 – Members aged 56 and over represented over half of volunteer hours, and members 25-55 over a third.
Finding 7 – Rotary members dedicate their time in a variety of fields, with health, education and social assistance being the most popular.
Finding 8 – Within projects, members get involved in all functions with organiser/co-ordinator being the most popular.
Finding 9 – Rotary is succeeding in initiating new members into service projects and activities.
Finding 10 – Volunteer rates vary by region, with Latin America giving the most volunteer hours per person, on average.
For a world challenged to meet a demanding set of Sustainable Development Goals in the face of withering environmental catastrophes and limited governmental and philanthropic resources, the lesson from this report is clear: volunteer service may provide an enormously valuable contribution toward the achievement of the ambitious goals that the international community has set for itself.
Rotary volunteers save communities an estimated US$850 million in service costs per year.”
This ground-breaking new report, undertaken by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies with support from Rotary International is the first systematic, empirical analysis of the extent of volunteer activity generated by a major global service organisation using the definition of volunteer work and survey methodology outlined in the International Labour Organization’s Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work.
Johns Hopkins University reveals the impact of #Rotary members – 47 million volunteer hours a year. Read the ground-breaking new report: https://t.co/9Xq4umy3nb #InternationalVolunteerDay pic.twitter.com/5GNB6VotJF
— Rotary International (@Rotary) December 5, 2019
“By applying these internationally-sanctioned tools, we now have the first solid, empirical data on the considerable scale of international volunteer effort stimulated by a leading global service organisation and the value of the services the resulting substantial army of Rotary volunteers contributes to the health, education, and welfare of communities across the world,” noted Dr Lester Salamon, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, and lead author on this report.
“Rotary is to be commended for subjecting its activities to such rigorous and objective measurement and for honouring the strictures that such scientific data-gathering imposes.
“We hope their example will inspire other organisations to do likewise.”
As we better understand the vast contributions of volunteer work, we can mobilise this remarkable but often undervalued resource to better the world.”
“We are proud to be the first global membership organisation to conduct an empirical analysis of our volunteers’ impact using Johns Hopkins University’s systematic methodology,” said John Hewko, General Secretary and CEO of Rotary International.
“This is just the beginning of using the most innovative tools of measurement to capture and enhance our impact.
“As we better understand the vast contributions of volunteer work, we can mobilise this remarkable but often undervalued resource to better the world and allow it to thrive in the years to come.”