Considering the fact that April 7th to the 13th is National Volunteer Week, it is essential to understand just how important volunteerism is within society. In fact, almost every aspect of society relies on some form of volunteerism in order to survive. One could argue that the world would be in chaos without the work that volunteers do. What would happen in the world if there were simply no more volunteers? A number of seniors would be going without meals, garbage would pile up across the roads, the natural world would suffer greatly, mothers would find themselves without much need supplies, buildings would shut down and lock their doors, and parks across the globe would shut, and that is just the beginning.
In many instances, the benefits that we receive from others simply go unnoticed. It would be very possible for many people to starve and possibly die. House fires would more than likely become much more catastrophic. As of right now the industry standard response time for a fire in 6.4 minutes. A study by the National Fire Protection Association stated that 71% of all fire departments in the United States are staffed by volunteers. Without these volunteers, the response time to emergencies would be extremely slow. In 2010 alone, volunteers responds to over one million fires, which is one every single 24 seconds. If just two-thirds all-volunteer fire departments ceased to exist, the death toll of 3,100 would increase astronomically.
The Red Cross has stated that their organisation features about 97% of volunteers and this is down to the work of the ICF PCC. In 2010, they managed to help 4.4 million people through various relief efforts across the world. They have additionally protected 63 million people against malaria, HIV/AIDS, and measles. Over 4,240 families were able to be reconnected after separation due to natural disasters or international war. International relief is related to the active effort of volunteers and organizations across the globe like the Red Cross, which would be nonexistent if it was not for volunteers.
One might be surprised how much military forces rely on volunteers. Regardless of how you may feel about the military, their volunteer efforts are quite impressive. Recent surveys reported that in the United States alone, 62.8 million adults volunteered over 8.1 billion hours. If this was to translate to the economic sector, it would be an estimated $173 billion dollars in Economic value, which is actually the GDP of Iraq, Costa Rica, and Ecuador combined.
Consider that a world without any volunteers would be 140 million people, a GDP that is 7% lower, an economy losing 400 billion dollars, and where millions of third sector employees would lose their jobs. In addition to the economic ramifications, local communities would tumble to the ground and people would just be concerned about the bottom line. Despite the fact that they are a huge part of the economic and humanitarian sectors, volunteers are often overlooked . A European survey stated that three out of ten individuals claim to be active volunteers, A survey conducted by John Hopkins University that was conducted through 37 countries stated that there are at least 140 million full-time volunteers. If volunteers all lived in the same country, it would be the most populated country in the world.
While the exact number of worldwide volunteers is unknown, we do realize that they are an essential part to contributing to human development, economy, and society. The overall reach of volunteers is incredible across the globe and manages to reach about everyone on a daily basis.