CEMEFI – Volunteering in Mexico

Traditionally in Mexico volunteering activities are related to what Robert D Putnam called ‘bonding capital’, where people cooperate mainly with those who share their values and beliefs. Cemefi developed the ENSAV survey (National Survey of Solidarity and Volunteering) in order to analyse volunteering under these specific circumstances, identifying the actions Mexicans take daily in order to help others, whether these actions are done in a non-profit organization (NPO), with acquaintances, in church, etc. Around 75 per cent of the population declared they had volunteered at least once in their life.

With 70 per cent of NPO staff working as volunteers, it is clear the strong influence they have on the effectiveness of NPO objectives. The Mexican Satellite Account 2008-10, developed by the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI), shows that in 2010 1 per cent of the population was volunteering in NPOs; their contribution represents 0.36 per cent of Mexico’s GNP. Taking that into consideration, Cemefi has developed a toolkit for NPOs, which gives examples and recommendations to help organizations to build their volunteering programme. Despite all these efforts, the percentage of Mexicans volunteering is still small; when asked why, the common answer is ‘lack of time’.

According to the OECD, the Mexicans spend more hours at work than the international average; it is imperative then to increase corporate volunteering programmes that can give employees options to create a positive social impact within the corporate framework. (Pictured: Pharmaceutical laboratory Silanes’ ‘Good Vibe’ programme aims to promote a ‘Spirit of Participation and Change’ among the company’s employees and their families.) To encourage this, Cemefi is also working on a toolkit for corporate volunteering.

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