Ronald McDonald House in Desperate Need of Help as Charities Across the Nation See Decline in Volunteering

Some believe it has to do with the rise of remote work and less corporate groups getting together to volunteer.

The Ronald McDonald House, a nonprofit that supports children battling serious illnesses, specifically cancer, and their families, is struggling to adequately provide services due to a national decline in volunteering.

“We very much depend on volunteers. We could not run and sustain operations without our volunteers,” said Kerry Schulman, CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central and Northern Arizona.

And they are not the only organization to see similar challenges.

A U.S. Census Bureau and AmeriCorps survey found that formal volunteering across the country declined 7% between 2019 and 2021, with Colorado seeing a 16.1% drop, and Hawaii, Wisconsin and Ohio also seeing double-digit drops in volunteer sign-ups.

Utah has the highest rate of volunteering in the country, but also saw volunteering decline by 8.8%.

Schulman said she believes it has to do with the rise in remote working.

“It's harder to organize those corporate groups and rally them to all come out and support something,” she said.

But the effort, for those who can volunteer their time, is well worth it. “You have families who are perhaps facing the worst time of their lives and they’re at the hospital all day. They’ve got a million things on their mind,” said board secretary Jill Hanks, who is also a volunteer. “They've got a million things on their mind. For us to be able to make their bellies full and maybe put a smile on their face at the end of the day … I mean, sometimes I wonder, do we get more out of it or do they? It's wonderful. It's a wonderful feeling.”

Related Stories