We know that Nevada’s volunteerism rate is low compared to the rest of the country. However, the results of this survey show that people are interested in both formal and informal volunteering. This is an important finding because informal volunteering behaviors are not captured in national data on volunteering. Thus, it may be the case that Nevada does indeed have a greater level of volunteerism (including both formal and informal) than previously thought.
While our ultimate goal is to better capture the rates of volunteerism in Nevada and better situate it in the national context, the current study is not actually designed to do that. Instead, the current study is designed to obtain a demographic profile of Nevada’s volunteers and to address current volunteers’ motivations and barriers to volunteering more.
This first profile of Nevada’s volunteers is a necessary first step in this research endeavor before we can address the larger goal of improving the state’s overall volunteerism rate. The next step is to engage in a large scale volunteerism survey that includes both current volunteers and people who have never volunteered. The goal is to address Nevadans’ volunteer activities and behaviors, including both informal and formal volunteerism, as well as motivations for and barriers to volunteering. In short, in order to truly understand how Nevada compares to the rest of the country and to gauge the level of volunteering, philanthropy, and service, we need a more comprehensive view of all volunteer-related activities.