Who volunteers more, women or men? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women out-volunteer men …. but not by as much as you might think. The most recent data reports that 21.8 percent of men volunteer compared to 27.8 percent of women.
Still, there’s a 6 percent out there that needs to catch up! But maybe a guy just needs to find the right volunteering project for him. A 2011 report published in Voluntas found that, in general, men prefer volunteering opportunities that are goal-oriented as opposed to people-oriented, prefer organizations that have a hierarchy, prefer a competitive structure as opposed to a teamwork structure, and prefer a sense of efficacy over intimacy. If this sounds like you, then read on for some recommendations.
Join the Movember movement for men. The mustache-growing month of November used to be about raising awareness for prostate cancer in the United States, but now it’s expanded to include testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Movember is the only global charity focused on men’s health, and they give you lots of ways to get involved. There’s the now-classic Movember mustache, which you grow to raise awareness and raise money. You can also commit to running or walking 60 miles in November to mark the 60 men lost to suicide every hour, across the globe. You might also host a party or ask your company if you can host a fundraising campaign at work. There are lots of way to get involved. Learn more here.
Be a mentor. While being a mentor may seem antithetical to the research cited above, we have to mention it because the need is so great. This is your chance to truly be a hero. Across Austin – and the country, in fact – there is a serious shortage of male mentors. Big Brothers Big Sisters, Communities in Schools, CASA of Travis County, 100 Black Men, Seedling Foundation, Explore Austin… all of these organizations are constantly looking for men. That’s because so many boys and young men lack consistent fathers and men in their lives, and because positive male role models can have such a positive impact on a person’s life. There are always information sessions happening where you can at least learn what it takes. Learn more here.
Help after a disaster. If you’re looking for volunteering that gives you a real sense of efficacy, one that so obviously delivers on the before-and-after, learn to be a disaster volunteer. There’s nothing like a post-disaster clean-up if you want to see change happen before your eyes. Disaster volunteering also offers you a chance to be a genuine life-saving hero. And unfortunately, there’s always another disaster on the way. Learn more here.
Raise more money or stuff than everyone else. For the perfect, competitive fundraising challenge, you have to set a goal, track what you raise, compare yourself to others, and do what it takes to squash the competition. You can do that on Giving Tuesday, coming up on December 3. There’s also Amplify Austin, another crowdfunding campaign. You can also host in-kind drives for coats for Coats for Kids, cans for Central Texas Food Bank, books for Bookspring… you get the picture. There’s nothing like the two-fer of winning by raising the most.
We also recommend taking part in a park clean-up, sorting at the food bank, signing up for a Habitat for Humanity build, and other structured opportunities where you can see the difference you can make. You might also join Austin Young Men’s Business League, 100 Black Men, or another men’s association. All this being said, we hope you don’t let any research or stereotype stop you from finding the volunteering activity that is most meaningful to you. Explore a little. Be great when it’s time to be great.