Doug Bedell — June 10, 2019, 1:12 pm

Volunteerism’s Decline Threatens Community Security


Before recruitment comes retention in building a dependable community workforce, for example volunteer firefighters. This may sound like a truism, but the In Public Safety blog advises us to be mindful of the decline in volunteerism that’s been going on “for the last couple of decades and is expected to worsen as fewer people volunteer and existing volunteers increase in age.”

Here’s the background: “It’s important to understand the demographics of volunteers. For example, research shows that individuals in Generation X accounted for the highest percentage of volunteers at 29.4 percent. They are closely followed by the Baby Boomers at 27.2 percent and Millennials at 21.7 percent. It’s also worth noting that females volunteer their time (28 percent) more than males do (22 percent). It is also interesting to note that 32 percent of all married couples volunteer their time with an organization or an agency.”

In other words, since World War II, when homefront air raid wardens exemplified the importance of volunteerism, the willingness of people to step forward for service without pay has been declining.

Community leaders need to recognize such trends so that they can be attentive to maintaining homefront security – that is, readiness for challenges where people live, peacetime notwithstanding.

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