Overview

Improving Quality of Life

Quality of life can be improved when citizens participate in the life of the community, engaging in both political and non-political activities, in order to improve conditions for others and to help shape the community's future.

We all benefit when everyone participates in society—by volunteering and raising funds for charitable causes; by running for office and voting; or by actively engaging in public policy discussions.

What's happening

  • North Dakota has consistently had a higher voter turnout among the voting-age population than the nation (61.3% compared to 54.6% in 2016). Within the state, there is very little difference in turnout by metropolitan status. However, voter turnout rates in planning regions ranged from 53.3 percent in Region III in 2016 to 69.7 percent in Region VII.
  • The percent of North Dakota’s residents (age 16 and older) who volunteer has been consistently somewhat higher than the U.S. average (32.0% in North Dakota and 24.9% in the U.S., in 2015).
  • North Dakota residents mostly volunteered for religious institutions (48.2%), followed by social and community service organizations (20.6%). The most common volunteer activities in North Dakota were collect/prepare/distribute food and collect/make/distribute clothing (30.7% and 28.6%, respectively) for 2015.

Making connections

A strong economy and business climate provide resources for community involvement and foster employee participation in their communities. Furthermore, volunteering can develop skills and confidence that make individuals employable and strengthen the networks that help them to find jobs.  

Civic engagement helps youth and young adults build social capital and skills that can help them find meaningful education and career pathways. Increased education in turn, produces resources that raise an individual’s access and potential contribution to volunteering and fosters organizational and communication skills necessary for successful civic engagement and leadership.

Research also found a significant relationship between volunteering and health; when individuals volunteer, they not only help their community but also experience better health in later years, whether in terms of increased longevity, higher functional ability, or lower rates of depression.


FOR DISCUSSION

Kristy Huber: Do you know the Return on Investment on your charitable giving?

"The definition of investment is to buy something with the expectation that it will increase in value. When an individual makes a gift to United Way, they are not givers or donors, but investors. It is our job to invest their dollars into strategies that can produce results. The donors’ expectation is that there will be an increase in value for the community."

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Leola Daul: Heart-n-Soul Community Café: A place where all are welcome to enjoy a local, healthy, and delicious meal no matter their ability to pay

"The Community Café is a nonprofit café where all are welcome and served with dignity and respect regardless of a person’s ability to pay. We currently operate many of our cafés at Josie's Corner Café, 524 Broadway N. Fargo, as a pop up café. As a pop up community café, we are using under-utilized kitchens and spaces to serve our meals. The current location is closed for business on days that Heart-n-Soul Community Café uses the space."

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North Dakota Compass

North Dakota Compass
www.ndcompass.org

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

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