A Call to Service

An innovative approach to encourage volunteerism in the state of Iowa, the “Volunteer Iowa: A Call to Service” campaign seeks to help Iowans understand the individual, as well as the community benefits of philanthropy.

Volunteer Iowa

Gov. Terry Branstad is wearing his game face for this year’s push to increase volunteerism in the state of Iowa. The Volunteer Iowa: A Call to Service program was designed to encourage Iowans to volunteer at least 50 hours each year. That’s a little over 15 hours more than the state average from last year (34.2)– an increase that would bump Iowa from the second highest to the number one state volunteering rate in the country. Iowans are already rising to the challenge. Using the hashtag #WhatsYour50, thousands of tweets have gone viral from the midwest nest, including  those from participants in programs like Reach out to Dropouts and Americorps.

“When Iowans are presented a need and asked to help, Iowans step forward,” says Adam Lounsbury, the Exective Director of the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service. “Through the ‘What’s Your 50?’ Call to Service campaign, we hope Iowans will increase their service activities to 50 hours per year–not just because we want Iowa to be # 1 in volunteering, but because we know that service is the secret ingredient to meeting all of Iowa’s goals for education, job creation, and health.”

By partnering with the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, the Governor’s office hopes to encourage active volunteerism among Iowa citizens while enabling local charitable, nonprofit, and government organizations to utilize those volunteers more effectively. And hey–we dig that.

But why 50 hours?

Research has proven that 50 hours is the minimum amount of service someone must donate in one year before those handy physical and emotional health benefits start to kick in. Things like a lower risk of mortality, better retention rates for volunteer organizations and an increase in academic achievement among Iowa youth. This Call to Service will not only provide an additional $1 billion worth of services to Iowa, it has the added benefit of making Iowans healthier, happier and smarter. We dig that, too.

In short, Iowa is pretty cool. And next time you think we’re are all like this, remember that we’re pretty good at this, we’re not so bad at that, we’re home to the #1 richest metro area in the nation (and one of the happiest) and frankly, we’re nice.


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