Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 4:39 pm | Fair 66º


Cynder Sinclair: Volunteerism a Powerful Force in Santa Barbara

Did you know that April is National Volunteer Month? Volunteering gives us an opportunity to contribute to our community in a profound and personal way. Since Santa Barbara has the second-highest per capita of nonprofits of any county in California, we have wonderful opportunities to volunteer for whatever causes peek our interest.

One of the greatest aspects of volunteerism is that there are so many different ways to do it. Most nonprofits couldn’t do their work without their loyal, hardworking volunteers.

The first page of a quick Google search for volunteer opportunities in Santa Barbara included: American Red Cross, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Outdoor Volunteers, Santa Barbara Zoo, County of Santa Barbara, Volunteer Match and Alpha Resource Center. With nearly 2,000 nonprofits in Santa Barbara County, you can be sure to find just the right ones to inspire your own volunteer activities.

A lot has changed since President Richard Nixon created the first National Volunteer Week in 1974, and volunteering is on the rise. Since 1989, the number of people who volunteer has increased by 60 percent. Older Americans from the baby-boom generation are 40 percent more likely to volunteer than the same age groups were in 1989.

According to a new report from Independent Sector, the estimated average value of a volunteer hour was $22.14 in 2012. The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group releases a dollar estimate of the value of volunteer hours every year as a way to acknowledge the work of volunteers across the country. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 64.3 million Americans volunteered in 2011, its highest level in five years. These individuals gave approximately 7.9 billion hours of service time worth $171 billion.

“Volunteers continue to be vitally important to nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in this country,” said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “The value of volunteer time is a reminder of the immense contributions of volunteers to our organizations and our communities.”

Even the federal budget supports the importance of local volunteerism. The Office of Management & Budget reports, “With the number of Americans engaged in volunteering having reached its highest point in five years, many nonprofits could benefit from management practices to handle this influx of talent. The budget proposes to support nonprofits’ ability to recruit, retain and manage this talent through a reactivated Volunteer Generation Fund. In order to help secular and religious nonprofits leverage volunteers in support of national priorities, the budget provides $10 million for the reactivated fund, more than double the 2012 level. By reactivating the program as the George H.W. Bush Volunteer Generation fund, we also honor the legacy of service of the 41st president of the United States, who helped to elevate volunteerism and pioneered important work in civic participation both during and after his time in office.”

Ask your favorite nonprofits how you can volunteer your services. They will welcome you with open arms, and you will feel good about making a significant difference in our community.

— Cynder Sinclair, Ph.D., is a local consultant to nonprofits and founder and CEO of Nonprofit Kinect. She can be contacted at 805.689.2137, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >