Over the past two decades, a growing body of research indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits. This research has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health:

As compared with those who don't volunteer, volunteers have: 

  • lower mortality rates
  • greater functional ability, and 
  • lower rates of depression later in life than whose who do not volunteer. 

Older volunteers are the most likely to receive greater benefits from volunteering. Some findings also indicate that volunteers who devote a "considerable" amout of time to volunteer activities (about 100 hours per year) are most likely to exhibit positive health outcomes.


Issue Brief on the health benefits of volunteering


  • Millennials who volunteer through company-sponsored programs are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees.
  • Those who frequently volunteer are twice as likely to be “very satisfied” with career progression
  • Frequent volunteers are two times more likely to rate their company culture as “very positive” compared with those who rarely or never volunteer
  • Even 61% of those millennials who rarely or never volunteer would consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a job decision

2011 Deloitte Volunteer Impact Study, Deloitte Development LLC, 2011
2014 Millennial Impact Report, The Case Foundation, 2016


  • Students who are more civically engaged perform better in reading, mathematics, history, and science, and are more apt to complete high school. Davila and Mora (2007) analyzed data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988.
  • Those students who participated in service-learning made significantly greater gains in reading, math, history and science than those who did not participate. Davila and Mora (2007) analysis of the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988.
  • Eighty-one percent of dropouts felt that they would have been more apt to stay in school if their school had offered real-world learning opportunities, such as service-learning. Bridgeland (2006).
  • Low socio-economic status students who participate in service scored higher in achievement, motivation, grades, bonding to school, and attendance than similar students who did not participate in service. Scales and colleagues (2006)

Service-Learning and Academic Achievement Research Summary, Generator School Network, 2010


As compared with a control group, a child who is mentored in a structured relationship at least one hour a week for at least one year 

  • is 46 percent less likely to initiate drug use during the study period. Minority students were 70 percent less likely to initiate drug use than similar minority youth.
  • is 27 percent less likely to initiate alcohol use during the study period, and minorities were only about one-half as likely to initiate alcohol use.
  • is almost one-third less likely than were controls to hit someone.
  • skips half as many days of school.
  • felt more competent about doing.
  • improves their academic achievement/grades.

Source: Mentoring a proven delinquency strategy, Grossman & Garry 1998, 


  • States with more civic engagement are better at weathering economic recessions
  • Controlling for other factors affecting unemployment rates states and localities with more civic engagement in 2006 saw less growth in unemployment between 2006 and 2010.
  • States with more civic engagement have lower overall unemployment rates even when controlling for other demographic and economic factors.
  • An increase of one point in the state’s rate of residents reporting working with neighbors to solve a community problem was associated with a decrease of 0.256 percentage points in the unemployment rate when the economic factors were controlled.
  • An increase of one point in formal volunteering rate (with an organization) was associated with 0.192 percentage points less unemployment, controlling for the eight economic variables.