Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Volunteerism and Civic Life

The Corporation for National & Community Service has released its Volunteering in America: 2007 State Trends and Rankings in Civic Life (PDF document). The report "gives a detailed breakdown of America’s volunteering demographics, habits, and patterns by state and region. The 2007 report also provides the agency’s first-ever ranking of levels of civic engagement by state through a new Civic Life Index."

You'll want to look closely at the data sets around both volunteering and the other measures of civic participation and civic engagement. The site reports:

The section’s maps and tables include state level volunteer rates, volunteering rate changes, volunteer retention rate, and an index of civic life that includes voting, working within the community, and civic infrastructure. Volunteering among key demographic groups, such as older adults, Baby Boomers, young adults and college students, is also ranked. The volunteer rankings are based on three years of data in order to increase the reliability of the estimates and ensure more accurate comparisons across states.

For those who used to rely on the studies and surveys from Independent Sector to measure volunteer rates, this is a welcome addition to the data sources available. Independent Sector is still the primary source for the calculated dollar value of volunteer time, which is a useful number to use in your local community to calculate total dollar value of the volunteer services provided in the community. Independent Sector also links to other relevant studies on aspects such as philanthropic giving and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' volunteer rate estimates (PDF document).

If you have other data sources for volunteerism and civic engagement, please pass them on.


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