About half of Louisiana residents volunteer their services, lieutenant governor’s office survey says

Date: Aug 03, 2011

About half of Louisiana residents volunteer their services, lieutenant governor's office survey says

About half of Louisiana residents say they do volunteer work, with religious groups being the chief beneficiaries, according to a survey released Tuesday by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne's office.

Dardenne said he would like to see the total increase when the Louisiana State University Public Policy Lab surveys the state again next year, but said he has no specific goal in mind. "Anything we can do to increase the numbers, the better," Dardenne told a news conference.

The poll was conducted during April and will be followed up annually, he said. The poll cost about $25,000 and was done by calling 720 residents on land-lines and cell phones in 216 communities in all 64 parishes. The margin of sampling error is 3.66 percent.

The poll was conducted for Volunteer Louisiana, an initiative in Dardenne's office operated through the Louisiana Serve Commission.

A national volunteerism study is expected to be released next week and the results may differ with the LSU poll, said Kirby Goidel, director of the public policy lab. He said that in many cases in the LSU poll, the numbers may be under-reported because some people do not consider what they do as a routine a volunteer effort.

About 51 percent of those 18 and older said they have volunteered in the past 12 months, and 85 percent said they will continue their volunteer work in the next 12 months at the same or greater level.

The report showed that the highest rate of volunteerism was among residents between 35 and 44 years old, at 60 percent, while the second highest was 53 percent of those in the 45 to 54 age range.

A total of 42 percent said they volunteered to help in fundraising activities while 40 percent said they donated their time to food collection, preparation or serving. Religious groups were the first choice of volunteers, at 33 percent, while 32 percent said they volunteered for "educational or youth-based" organizations.

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