Israelis Averse to Volunteering for Social Causes, Study Shows

Hila Weissberg
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Hila Weissberg

It's no secret that volunteering benefits both those who give and those who get: Studies have even shown that volunteering boosts participants' mental and physical health. Yet a recent survey shows that only about 18% of Israelis take advantage of these benefits by lending a helping hand.

A survey conducted to mark National Volunteer Day (which falls on December 5 each year) found that 82% of Israelis don't volunteer for any social activity. The survey, conducted by Geocartography on behalf of the philanthropic organization Matan – Investing in the Community, also showed that 85% of Israelis aren't familiar with the term "third sector" (nonprofit organizations) and 40% don't donate to nonprofits.

The survey found that a greater percentage of women (68%) donate to nonprofits than men (57%). It also found that 80% of the religious/ultra-Orthodox population makes charitable donations as opposed to 64% of the so-called "traditional" public and 55% of the secular population. Among those who do donate, most are familiar or connected with the recipient's field of activity.

Thirty-nine percent of younger adults, aged 18 to 34, as well as people aged 55 and over were found to volunteer slightly more than the middle aged (36%).

The survey also showed that people with higher incomes who are better educated have a greater tendency to volunteer: Among those with higher education, 22% volunteer as opposed to 13% of those who only have a high school diploma. High earners were found to volunteer at a higher rate, of 24%, than people with average or low incomes – 21% and 16% of whom volunteer, respectively.

Some 20% of young people were familiar with the term "third sector," as opposed to just 9% of older people.

The figures are cause for concern, said Matan CEO Ahuva Yanai said, but added, "Many Israelis invest their time in 'unofficial' volunteering, or what could be defined as helping others, which distorts the volunteerism figures."

How many Israelis would volunteer to help an old lady cross the street?Credit: Alon Ron