COVER BY JOSE LUIS PELEAZ FOR PARADEmerica is in the midst ofa boom—and one that is benefitingand bonding us all. “During ...
photobyscottwarren/auroraPAGE 6 • March 7, 2010 • paradenities. Nearly half of respondents (49%) want toimprove their neig...
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Compassion Counts More Than Ever For Americans: Survey By Penn Schoen Berland


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American Community survey carried out by PSB reveals three distinct types of Americans who are driving change in American communities and country namely YEPPIES, Rapid Responders & The mission minded. For them compassion counts more than ever.

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Compassion Counts More Than Ever For Americans: Survey By Penn Schoen Berland

  1. 1. COVER BY JOSE LUIS PELEAZ FOR PARADEmerica is in the midst ofa boom—and one that is benefitingand bonding us all. “During pasttough economic times, there wasa decrease in volunteering,” saysPatrick Corvington, CEO of the federal Corpo-ration for National and Community Service.“Buttoday there’s a‘compassion boom’of people helpingothers.” An exclusive new PARADE poll showshow and why so many Americans are working toimprove our communities and the world.“Public service”has become more than a phraseor a school requirement in our country—it’snow a way of life forAmericans of all ages.“People who are outof work are volunteer-ing to stay connectedto their communitiesand to hone their jobskills,” Corvingtonexplains.“But I thinkpart of what is drivingthe overall increase isthe growing under-standing that serviceis an essential tool toachieve communityand national goals.”The findings of thenew PARADE pollconfirm Corvington’sobservations:Respon-dents were almost unanimous in the belief that it is“important to be personally involved in supportinga cause we believe in” in our communities (94%)and in the world at large (91%). More than threeout of four (78%) think that the actions of one per-son can improve the world, and 78% also believethey’re more involved in making a difference thantheir parents were.The Americans surveyed by PARADE are par-ticularly proud of one very personal way that they’recontributingtothegreatergood:Ninetypercentsaidthat they are working hard to teach their childrenthe importance of activism.They’re imparting theselessons in a variety of ways,including leading by ex-ample (64%); talking to their kids about importantissues and causes (51%);discussing their own chari-tablecontributionsoref-forts with their children(35%); taking them tomeetings or when theyvolunteer (32%); urging them tofollow role models who are work-ingforpositivechange(31%);andencouraging them to donate theirown money to causes (25%).Jack Brannelly, 45, an attor-ney in Draper,Utah,brings his 9-year-old daugh-ter when he volunteers at an elder-care facility.“To put her hand in the hand of a 95-year-oldat the end of her life teaches my daughter aboutthe people out of the public view who still needaffection,” he says. “This heart-to-heart contactteaches her one of the most important things wecan do despite our busy lives. ”WHY AMERICANS ARE DOING GOODMost of the poll respondents are motivated towardpublic service by simple altruism—60% want tohelp other people,and 57% want to make the worlda better place. However, many people are specifi-cally moved to act on behalf of their own commu-photosbyginafontana/polaris(kitchen) 4 • March 7, 2010 • paradeOur nation is inthe midst of avolunteering boom.continuedPARADE asked 1008 Americans whatthey’ddoifgiven$100,000 todonateto charity. Here’s how they’d share it:Food and shelter for the needyResearch to cure diseaseDisaster reliefAnimal welfareYouth programsPoverty relief/job assistanceEducationMy religion’s charityThe global environmentPublic healthHuman rightsMy immediate environmentLiteracyOther religious charitiesPromoting world democracyVisual and/or performing arts$15,953.21$14,311.54$9308.97$8783.46$6514.53$6234.83$6069.00$5921.93$5340.51$4924.82$4422.10$3628.49$2952.55$2262.90$1732.32$1638.83THE PARADE POLL WAS CONDUCTED BY PENN SCHOEN BERLAND LLC WITH A NATIONAL ONLINE PANEL OF ADULTS AGES 18 AND OVER. SURVEYS WERE COMPLETED BY 1008 RESPONDENTS. MARGIN OF ERROR +/- 3.1%WhatAboutAmericaCaresCompassionCountsMoreThanEverAby Michael J.BerlandAnewPARADEpollrevealsFor stories ofAmericans makinga difference in theircommunities,
  2. 2. photobyscottwarren/auroraPAGE 6 • March 7, 2010 • paradenities. Nearly half of respondents (49%) want toimprove their neighborhoods.Daniel Freedman,27, a Los Angeles law-school student, and hisfriends started a nonprofit organization that usesthe resources and talent of area universities toaddress local environmental problems. “It’s likewhat Gandhi saidabout being thechange you wantto see in others,”Freedman ex-plains. “You haveto start in yourown backyard.”What tipspeople over fromhaving good in-tentions into act-ing upon them?More than two-thirds (68%) saypersonal experi-ence has been amajor impetus,with 40% sayingtheir motivating experience was a positive one,as in “Someone did something good for me,andI want to give back.”A family member or friend’srequest (33%) and learning about an issue fromthe news (28%) were other catalysts.There are other reasons for civic engagementas well: It makes people feel good about them-selves (39%);it’sa moral obliga-tion (37%); orit fulfills theirsense of duty(36%). “WhileI’ve never been abused, homeless, or an addict,”says Jackie Ryan, 33, from Sarasota, Fla., whoworks in sales, “I look for ways to get involvedin those causes because it makes me feel like I’mhelping people.” She volunteers for a local foodbank and a drug-rehabilitation facility, as wellas Habitat for Humanity.HOW  THEY’RE DOING GOODOver the course of their lifetimes, almost all re-spondents (98%) have engaged in at least oneactivity to make a difference, and an inspiring91% have done so in the past 18 months. Interms of volunteer work, 37% delivered food tothe hungry; 30% helped organize a fund-raisingevent; and 32% participated in a cleanup at a lo-cal beach,park,or other public area.Almost onein four volunteered at a soup kitchen or foodbank (24%), participated in an athletic eventto raise money fora cause (21%), ormentored a stu-dent (19%).In a sign of ourwired times, theAmericans sur-veyed are utiliz-ing technology tospread the wordabout issues andto connect withothers. More thanone in four (27%)have turned to e-mail, Facebook, orTwitter to com-municate about acause. Jackie Ryanhas posted on Facebook in order to encouragefriends to join her in volunteer activities anddonate to events like the 3K race she recentlyran to raise money to fight child abuse.Many respondents have opened their wal-lets to do good, with 67% buying charity raffletickets, 58% purchasing something unnecessaryto support a cause, and 34% sending a checkto a charity after hearing or seeing a touchingnews story.Despite the fact that most of the people sur-veyed said they’ve made cutbacks due to theeconomic crisis, 87% supported a cause finan-cially in the last year. In 2009, respondents gavemore than $400 on average to the single causethey cared about most.Americans aged 18 to 24gave the least—around $100—while those aged65 and over averaged more than $700. Accord-ing to the PARADE poll, generosity continuesto be the American way.Compassion Counts | continuedMichael J. Berland is the president of the pollingand research firm Penn Schoen Berland andco-author of “What Makes You Tick?” Laura vanStraaten contributed to this report.The PARADE survey has uncovered threedistinct types of Americans who are drivingchange in our communities and country today.YEPPIES (YOUNG, ENGAGEDPROBLEM SOLVERS)Yeppies—a group of young peopledistinguished by a reliance on social mediaand socializing to fuel their activism—cameinto existence only a few years ago. Theyenjoy volunteering and have the most faiththat individuals can solve social problems.Improving the world is both important tothem and a way to connect with like-mindedpeers. Open to a variety of causes, they’reparticularly susceptible to getting involvedbecause of a friend’s “ask.” They derivegreat stimulation and satisfaction from theiractivism and donate often and widely. Two-thirds of Yeppies are women, and of the threetypes, this one has the highest percentagesof African-Americans and of single people.Rapid RespondersRapid Responders are not out to improve theentire world—their civic engagement is muchmore focused and personal. Their causes tendto stem from a specific problem, like a healthor neighborhood issue, that may have cometo their attention through a family member’sor friend’s negative experience. RapidResponders often organize community eventsto raise awareness or money for the causesthey support. Of the three groups, they’re themost likely to have been involved in a localbeach or park cleanup. They believe that thegovernment has the most responsibilityand the best resources to improve our society.The Mission-MindedThe Mission-Minded consist of mostly olderAmericans who are largely motivated bytheir faith. To them, supporting basic needs,like food and shelter, is a religious duty,but they may also rally to a cause they learnabout from a secular community leader. LikeYeppies, they actively seek out opportunitiesfor civic engagement. Generous with timeand money, they’re the most likely of thethree types to travel in order to volunteer. TheMission-Minded are the least likely to citea negative experience as a catalyst for actionand have the most confidence in the abilityof religious groups to fix the world’s problems.Who’s ChangingAmericaToday?94% believe it’simportant to be involvedin a community cause.Visit us at PARADE.COMWatch CBS’s The EarlyShow on Monday,7–9 a.m.,for more on WhatAmerica Cares About