KENNEBUNK, Maine, Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This holiday season would you consider giving up an annual bonus or pay raise to help others? Even in these tough economic times, more than half of Americans say they would, finding volunteer work more rewarding than more money in their pocket*, according to a new study from Kelton Research commissioned by natural personal care leader Tom's of Maine. This desire to give back during the holidays and year-round may come from childhood volunteer experiences that turn into a lifelong commitment to community, as the nationwide survey found nearly seven in ten (66%) Americans do charity work for the first time before the age of 18.
Relationship ties are the biggest motivators for performing acts of kindness throughout all stages of life, the study reveals. Over half (51%) of Americans are more likely to volunteer if accompanied by a loved one and roughly the same amount (43%) learn and sign up for volunteer opportunities through word-of-mouth from friends and family, as opposed to researching causes on their own.
For today's volunteers, staying close to home is a clear priority. Nearly nine in ten (86%) Americans want to volunteer for causes in their own communities and fulfill an immediate need, as opposed to helping efforts in another town (6%) or country (5%). To help find the time to volunteer, Tom's of Maine offers each of its employees 5% of paid time off, up to 12 days a year, to volunteer in their local community or beyond.
"The impact of volunteering at every phase in life and the emotional rewards of doing so is seen around the country every day in the goodness we can bring to the lives around us," said Susan Dewhirst, PR & Goodness Programs Manager at Tom's of Maine. "For so many of us, giving back while we were growing up was a natural part of living in a community. It's one of the traditions we've learned and hope to pass on. "
As an example, Tom's of Maine created its annual "50 States for Good" program to help shed light on non-profit groups that need volunteers and support. This year Tom's of Maine awarded $150,000 in grants to grassroots projects ranging from reforestation initiatives and an environmental dance program to free dental care and a friendship network for children with special needs – all in need of financial support as well as new volunteers.
About Tom's of Maine
Tom's of Maine is a leading natural products company focused on oral and personal care. TOMs sells high quality toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, deodorant, bar soap, and body wash products. The company has a long-standing commitment to supporting people, communities and the living planet. For over 40 years, Tom's of Maine has sponsored hundreds of nonprofit efforts by giving 10% of its profits back to the community and encouraging employees to use 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteer. Tom's of Maine employees regularly contribute suggestions for improving the company's high sustainability standards. And their ideas, from wind power to ways to improve recycled and recyclable packaging options, are critical to the company's sensitive way of doing business. Tom's of Maine enjoys partnering with its consumers, vendors and community organizations to support lasting, positive change that is good for people and the planet. Visit us online at http://www.tomsofmaine.com/ or at http://www.facebook.com/TomsofMaine .
About Kelton Research
Kelton Research is a market research and strategy consultancy that works with some of the world's largest and most recognizable brands to help them better understand and connect with consumers. Kelton provides highly customized qualitative and quantitative research for a wide variety of companies across multiple sectors including many in the Fortune 500. For more information, please see www.keltonresearch.com.
* The study showed that despite the economic downturn, more than half (54%) of Americans say an hour volunteering each week is more rewarding than receiving a five percent salary raise. Study fielded by Kelton Research in April 2011.
SOURCE Tom's of Maine