For 8 weeks within December, January and February, I was without employment.

I was temporarily laid off. So I volunteered. As did millions of other people. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on January 26, 2010, puts the overall number of volunteers in September 2009 at 63.4 million people. So far in 2010, I’ve put in 27 hours at a social services organization. Last year, I volunteered 9 hours at two organizations*. My goal last year was to do 20 hours by Labor Day. That didn’t happen so I guess I’m finishing that goal now.

A volunteer at Sunday Parkways (now called Open Streets) in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Who is the most likely person to volunteer: A white, married woman with a college degree, without children under 18. The number one volunteer category: religious organizations, leading the second category, educational and youth services, by 8 percentage points.

Have you volunteered recently? Do you prefer that your volunteer work benefit you in some way? For example, do you want your time spent volunteering to teach you a new skill, or are you satisfied with just helping out?

Fast Company shows this information on an infographic.

By the way, as this photo makes evident, I am back at work!

*Two of these hours were spent talking to people at Millennium Park about the Burnham Pavilion designed by Ben van Berkel. The people were annoying – a lady asking me why she might want go to Grant Park prompted by “resignation.”