• October 1, 2014

Peace Corps Sparked Many Nonprofit Careers, Says Survey

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A stint in the Peace Corps can help shape a career path at nonprofits, according to a new survey of the organization’s alumni.

The survey of more than 11,000 former Peace Corps volunteers, conducted for the federal agency’s 50th anniversary, found that one in five corps alumni who served during the 1960s has worked primarily at nonprofits since returning from their service. The numbers are higher for alumni who served abroad in the past decade, with one in three having worked at charities since their Peace Corps days.

Sixty percent of all returning Peace Corps volunteers say their service abroad influenced their choice of career.

Other key findings:

• About 58 percent said they volunteer “a great deal” in their local communities; 45 percent said they raise money or other resources to help people abroad.

• Recent alumni are more likely to be women than men, a shift from the early years. In the 1960s, 65 percent of corps members were men; in the 2000s, 66 percent were women.

• More alumni from the past decade were minorities than in the 1960s: 14 percent in the 2000s compared with 9 percent in the agency’s first decade. Currently 17 percent of corps members serving overseas are nonwhite.

See the full report, “A Call to Peace: Perspectives of Volunteers on the Peace Corps at 50.”

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