Volunteering in New Mexico

New Mexico Volunteers Give 50.3 Million Hours of Service per Year ~ Residents' Volunteering Efforts Worth $981 Million Annually

Key Point:

Through the leadership of the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism we provide the infrastructure for New Mexicans to give back to our communities. AmeriCorps members harness and support communities in solving the state's most pressing needs.

The Commission state general fund was reduced in the 1st round of budget cuts from $450,000 down to $125,000 due to economic crisis. These funds provide match support for AmeriCorps programs to continue to operate in our communities. Now is the critical time to maintain the state general fund support to enable programs to support our communities.

Financial Impact of Volunteering in New Mexico:

On average (between 2005 - 2008), residents of New Mexico annually contributed 50.3 million hours of volunteer service totaling almost $1 billion ($981,083,996) of service. Of this total, Albuquerque contributed more than 21,506,000 hours on average, accounting for service valued at more than $419.5 million for 2007. These figures are based on the Independent Sector's annual estimation of the dollar value of a volunteer hour for 2007, which is currently $19.51.

Volunteering in America Study Information:

Based on the data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, this report presents an overview of formal volunteering at both the national and regional levels, as well as state and city rankings determined by volunteering indicators such as volunteering rate, intensity of volunteering, total hours donated, the types of activities volunteers perform, the types of organizations where people volunteer, and civic engagement. Allow volunteer rankings are based on a three-year average (using data from 2005-2008).

Each year, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) releases a comprehensive report on the state of volunteering in America. This year's Volunteering In America report is the most comprehensive set of data ever assembled - offering detailed information on volunteering trends and demographics from all 50 states and 163 U.S. cities over a three-year period (from 2005-2008).

This year's findings lend insight into several key points:

  • Now is a critical moment for volunteering in America, as social needs continue to mount, demographic changes offer new avenues for involvement, and support grows in every sector for service as a solution to America's tough problems;

  • As the U.S. faces an economic downturn, now more than ever, communities and individuals will need the support of volunteers; and

  • As important as volunteering continues to be, America is still experiencing a "leaky bucket" effect as far too many people drop out of volunteering from one year to the next.

CNCS provides this annual report to not only get more people involved in helping their communities, but to also help America's nonprofits, civic groups, and community leaders improve their volunteer recruitment and retention strategies. Besides this year's report, CNCS' new Web tool at www.VolunteeringinAmerica.gov, offers key resources that can help people identify how to get or stay involved in their communities by volunteering. Just think, by turning off the TV for only two hours a week and volunteering - you would do your nation a great service - especially during this critical time.

So how did New Mexico do?

  • New Mexico's average volunteer rate of 26.6 percent ranked 35th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with more than 397,000 New Mexico volunteers giving 50.3 million hours of service each year.

  • Volunteers in New Mexico were most likely to serve with a religious organization, as 35 percent of volunteers did.

  • Albuquerque had an average volunteer rate of 27.8 percent and an average of 33.1 volunteer hours per capita per year.

  • We have room to grow by engaging more and more New Mexicans in service to our communities!

Tips for Volunteering

Time Commitment

Are you looking for a volunteer position where you serve a few hours each week, one where you serve occasionally as needed, or a full-time opportunity where you dedicate a year to service? When selecting a volunteer opportunity, consider the amount of time you can realistically devote on a regular basis, and for what length of time overall.

Opportunities that are more intense in nature will often ask that you make a one-year commitment, and will vary in the number of hours per week you are asked to serve (1-40 hours per week). Other opportunities may be one-time events, or on a periodic basis over an extended period of time. Knowing the amount of time you can, and are willing, to serve will help you select a volunteer opportunity that will suit your needs.

Service You Would Like to Provide

Do you want to work with children or the elderly? Do you want to focus your efforts on a particular issue area, such as the environment, education, or homelessness? Do you want to serve people directly, complete administrative tasks, or do physical labor? Determining the type of service you'd like to provide will help you narrow your choices and find an opportunity that meets your interests.

Skills and Talents

Do you have a special set of skills that you'd like to utilize during your service experience, or are you interested in developing new skills? Many volunteer opportunities will provide a chance for you to utilize special skills or talents. In others, you can try something completely new and develop a new skill.

Support Structures

Will you need assistance with transportation? Will you need training in order to successfully complete your volunteer service? The answer to these and other similar questions should be considered when selecting your opportunity. Some volunteer organizations will provide monetary or in-kind support when you serve, such as bus passes, transportation reimbursement, or complimentary meals. Most will provide some type of training program. Adequate training can be a critical factor in ensuring a successful volunteer experience, particularly if you are new to the type of service you will be providing.

Getting Involved

Once you have narrowed your choices, contact the organization and find out about their application process. In addition, you should ask questions regarding other requirements, including background checks, fingerprinting, and driving records. If a background check is a requirement, determine if you will need to pay for it, and approximately how long it will take for you to be cleared to begin your service. If the process is a lengthy one and you want to get started right away, you might want to pursue other opportunities. Please check with your local program to obtain information on their specific requirements.

Opportunities for Families & Kids

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Kids

Do you want to find a community service project in your neighborhood? Is there a problem that you'd like to solve in your community or neighborhood? Do you want to create your own community service project? NMCCV and our partners can help!

Would you like ideas for how you can serve in your community? Visit USA Freedom Corps for Kids.

Is there a problem in your community that you'd like to help solve? You can learn about planning your own project with help from Disney and Youth Service America.

The Tiger Woods Foundation and Target support Start Something, a program that using community service to help kids make a difference in their community.

Parents

Would you like to involve your child in community service as part of an organized group? Perhaps you'd like to volunteer together as a family. If so, the following resources can help.

Youth service clubs are groups of youth who come together to volunteer and help others in their community. Clubs can be affiliated with a particular family, neighborhood, community, school or church. To learn about starting a club or find existing clubs, visit Kids Care Clubs or Kids Korps USA.

If you'd like to learn more about family volunteering or explore examples of service projects, please visit Family Cares, a program of the Points of Light Foundation.

Each year, Disney and the Points of Light Foundation sponsor Family Volunteer Day, the Friday before Thanksgiving. Family Volunteer Day is a great way to introduce your family to the joys of volunteering.

Everyone

National Days of Service provide opportunities for people of all ages and background to serve in their communities. Each day has a theme and a national sponsor. Examples of National Days of Service include National Family Volunteer Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Join Hands Day.