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Canadian Volunteers Motivated by Cause, Connection

(April 25, 2005) Canadians are more motivated to volunteer their time and resources because of the personal satisfaction they feel rather than any reward or recognition they may receive, according to a survey conducted by Investors Group in Winnipeg, MB.

When volunteering, 62 percent of survey respondents said it was very important that they cared about the cause, and 50 percent of respondents said volunteering for an organization that helped a family member or someone they knew was also very important. In contrast, just 7 percent said being publicly honored for volunteering was very important.

The opinion poll also revealed that older Canadians are more likely than younger Canadians to volunteer more than once a month. About 47 percent of respondents aged 55 and older said they volunteered more than once a month, 41 percent of respondents aged 45 to 54 did so, but only 27 percent of respondents ages 18 to 24 years and 25 to 34 volunteered more than monthly.

'Baby boomers plan to be quite active in their retirement, and volunteering plays a large role in their plans based on our first hand retirement planning experience and our recent research,' said Richard Irish, Investors Group's vice president, community affairs. 'This growing source of skilled volunteer power could be very important to organizations that are currently struggling to find the number and type of volunteers they need.'

The Investors Group survey also showed that sharing positive volunteer experiences and results encourages greater volunteer participation. About 41 percent of survey respondents said that seeing good results from past volunteering was a very important factor in their decision to volunteer. Forty-eight percent said seeing or reading stories about people who have been helped would make them more likely to volunteer, while 66 percent said stories about people or groups who could benefit would increase the likelihood that they will volunteer.

About three-fourths of Canadians (77 percent) said they would volunteer about the same amount of time this year as they did last year. The same percentage also said volunteering gave them positive feelings ranging from good to fantastic. Fundraising (36 percent) and organizing events or activities (35 percent) were the most common assignments for volunteers. Forty-five percent said they volunteered through work.

The telephone opinion poll was conducted by Decima Research, surveying 2,025 adult Canadians Oct. 7-18, 2004. A sample of this size is considered representative of the overall population within plus or minus 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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