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  • Writer's pictureShazia Peeran

Are volunteering and community service the same

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

Volunteering and community service are different but related. Volunteering is when you do something on your own free will and with no expectation of anything in return. Community service is usually unpaid work that benefits the community, though some organizations pay volunteers a small stipend. While volunteering can be done almost anywhere, from a nonprofit organization to your local animal shelter, community service usually focuses on a specific area such as cleaning up beaches or helping homeless people find jobs. Volunteers who perform community service tend to be older than those who engage in volunteerism—and these facts combined create challenges for many organizations attempting to attract younger adults into the fold of volunteerism. However, there are many reasons to volunteer or engage in community service work:

What are volunteering and community service?

Volunteering is an act of selfless giving. It's when you give your time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return. Community service is a form of volunteering that can be done in your community or another one.

Why do people volunteer?

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, meet new people and learn new skills.

One of the main reasons people volunteer is because they want to help others. Volunteers often feel good about themselves when they know that their time and effort are making a difference in someone else's life. Volunteering can also help build relationships with others by teaching them how to do something that may be difficult for them or just spending time talking with someone who needs support.

Another reason why people volunteer is because it helps them learn new skills or gain experience on their resume so that they can get a job after college graduation or move up within their current career path

How much time do people spend volunteering?

Volunteers are a huge part of the fabric of our communities. They help out at schools, hospitals and community centers; they coach sports teams and lead youth groups; they make meals for shut-ins and run fundraisers for worthy causes. But how much time do volunteers actually spend on these activities?

The answer depends partly on where you live--some states require more hours than others--but also on age, gender and income level. For example:

Volunteer rates are higher among women than men overall (33 percent vs 26 percent). In fact, 55 percent of female high school students volunteer compared with only 39 percent of their male counterparts.* The older we get, the less likely we are to volunteer; only 6 percent of Americans aged 65+ volunteer compared with 33 percent from ages 18-24.* Those who make more money tend not only have higher incomes but also donate more money toward charitable causes as well as give more hours as volunteers than those making less money per year does.*

Who volunteers the most?

Volunteers have a higher level of education and income than non-volunteers. They are also more likely to be engaged in their communities, such as attending public meetings and voting.

Volunteers are more likely to be involved in their communities: Volunteers are more likely than non-volunteers to be involved in community organizations such as sports leagues or civic associations (80% vs 69%). Volunteering is also associated with higher levels of political participation such as voting and contacting elected officials (about two-thirds vs one half).

How many people volunteer in the United States each year?

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, more than 63 million people in the United States volunteer their time each year. That's about 25% of our population!

The most common reasons for volunteering are:

  • To give back to their community

  • To help others and meet new people

  • To gain skills that can be used in future jobs or careers

Why is it important for people to volunteer or perform community service?

Volunteering can help you meet new people. If you're in need of a friend or want to make some new connections, volunteering is a great way to do so. It's also a great way to learn about different cultures and get an insider's perspective on what life is like in other parts of the world.

Volunteering can help you learn new skills. Whether it's cooking food for the homeless or building houses for low-income families, every day offers an opportunity for growth and personal development through service work. You might even find that some volunteer positions have more of an impact than others--for example, working with children may require more specialized training than serving meals at a soup kitchen does! But regardless of what kind of project you choose (or if there are multiple options), any experience will undoubtedly be beneficial when searching for employment later down the road because there will always be room within any company or organization where someone could benefit from having those extra special talents under their belt!

Volunteering contributes to the overall health of a community.

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, stay active, and give back to the community. If you want to get out of the house and do something different than what you would normally do on weekends, volunteering is a great way to do that! Volunteering also helps others who may not have as much time or money as we do in order to make their lives better by giving them something they need such as food or clothing items. This will make them feel better about themselves which can lead them down a path towards happiness and success in life!


When you volunteer or perform community service, you're not just helping yourself. You're also helping others and the community as a whole. Volunteering contributes to the overall health of a community by building stronger relationships between people and organizations that need help with projects like cleaning up parks or raising money for local charities.


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