UnitedHealthcare Study Finds Americans Who Volunteer Feel Healthier and Happier

September 14, 2017
  • Latest study affirms findings that volunteering may benefit everyone including individuals, communities and employers
  • Three-quarters of adults say volunteering makes them feel physically and emotionally healthier

A new study by UnitedHealthcare and VolunteerMatch found employee volunteerism positively affects the health and well-being of the people who participate, and strengthens their connections to their employers.

The report, titled the 2017 Doing Good is Good for You Study, reveals 75 percent of U.S. adults feel physically healthier by volunteering. The mental and emotional benefits of volunteering are even greater, with 93 percent reporting an improved mood, 79 percent reporting lower stress levels, and 88 percent reporting increased self-esteem by giving back. Also, volunteers are significantly more likely to feel they have greater control over their health and well-being.

"Volunteering can profoundly change the way we think about ourselves and others," said Greg Baldwin, president of VolunteerMatch. "We are grateful for the opportunity to work with UnitedHealthcare on this study to help us better understand why doing good is good for all of us."

The Doing Good is Good for You Study also looked at the role employers play in encouraging volunteerism as part of their efforts to strengthen employees' connections to the communities where they live and work. Almost three-fourths of employees who volunteer through work report feeling better about their employer, and 91 percent believe it is important for an employer to allow employees to volunteer on paid time.

"At UnitedHealthcare we have seen many times the connection between health and volunteerism," said Matt Peterson, head of social responsibility for UnitedHealthcare. "We hope studies like this one will encourage people to get out into the community and discover the many benefits of giving back."

Findings from this year's study are based on a national survey of 2,705 adults age 18 and over. The survey was conducted by Kantar TNS, one of the world's largest marketing research firms. Kantar TNS conducted the online survey between Nov. 29 and Dec. 12, 2016. Data were weighted to ensure a representative sample of the total U.S. adult population.

The Doing Good is Good for You Study is part ofUnitedHealthcare's "Do Good. Live Well." initiative, aimed at inspiring a new level of service and volunteerism in communities across the country. The Do Good. Live Well. website,, offers tools to search and sign up for volunteer opportunities in partnership with VolunteerMatch. For more information about the benefits of volunteering and to find local opportunities to get involved, visit Follow @DoGoodLiveWell on Twitter or "like" Do Good. Live Well. on Facebook.

To read more about the study, visit Since UnitedHealthcare and VolunteerMatch released a similar study in 2010, the proportion of people that attest to the health benefits of volunteering has increased.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @myUHC on Twitter.

About VolunteerMatch

VolunteerMatch believes everyone should have the chance to make a difference. As the Web's largest volunteer engagement network, serving over 113,000 participating nonprofits, 150 network partners and 13 million annual visitors, VolunteerMatch offers unique, award-winning solutions for individuals, nonprofits and companies to make this vision a reality. Since its launch in 1998, VolunteerMatch has helped the social sector attract more than $10.4 billion worth of volunteer services. Learn more about VolunteerMatch at, and follow @VolunteerMatch.