By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer
September 8, 2020- The American Red Cross is the nation’s top volunteer organization, according to LinkedIn.com. Each year, LinkedIn tallies those companies with the highest number of monthly volunteers. The Red Cross now proudly sits at #1 among these top 10 volunteering organizations of 2020, surpassing other organizations like the Crisis Text Line and Toastmasters International.
Digging into the statistics, LinkedIn data states that people under age 25 are the most likely to list volunteering activities, relative to their overall share in total membership. People over age 55 are least likely.
Maybe those over 55 aren’t listed, but as I look around the Northern Ohio Region of the Red Cross, I consistently see dozens (if not hundreds) of silvers and golden-agers actively engaged. My guess is that they just don’t have profiles on LinkedIn and, consequently, if they were added, they would rank even higher. (Well, maybe not higher than first place.)
What does the Red Cross offer volunteers?
Fortunately, the Red Cross has something for anyone and everyone. If you can only help sporadically, we’ve got random opportunities or shifts you can select whenever the opportunity presents itself. Volunteer opportunities are also available across Northern Ohio, with chapters from Ashtabula to almost the Indiana line.
If you enjoy traveling, Red Cross deploys disaster workers across the entire country. Conversely, if you’re a homebody, we have virtual opportunities as well. I just assisted on Hurricane Laura while sitting home in my office.
Red Cross provides training for most of their positions, from personal to professional development. Free classes are available from disaster response to diversity training to services to the armed forces. Or maybe your interests lie within human resources, public affairs or the biomedical field. Within just hours, you could learn enough to be providing valuable assistance taking temperatures or greeting people at blood drives or disaster shelters.
The reasons to volunteer are endless. Some volunteer to pass the time. Some look for comradery. While still others are looking to gain experience that might lead to other opportunities.
Whatever the reason for volunteering, once a volunteer meets someone down on their luck and are able to offer comfort, food and shelter, they’’ll be forever touched.
Meet the team
Volunteer recruitment and engagement for our region is handled by Gail Wernick, regional volunteer services officer, Melanie Collins, senior volunteer recruitment specialist and Debra Kellar, senior engagement specialist. Thanks to them and their counterparts across the country, the Red Cross took this top honor.
“I realize our efforts around volunteers require an all-hands on deck effort and genuine commitment from leadership,” said Mike Parks, our Regional CEO. “That said, these three staff members live and breathe the recruitment and engagement of volunteers every hour of every day…thank you! Keep up the great work—it’s not only recognized but greatly appreciated.”
How about you? Are you ready to help make a difference? Or do you know a friend or relative who has what it takes to be a great volunteer? Get started on our volunteer recruitment page and find out where your or your friend’s talents could be best utilized
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer