New Approaches to Volunteering
The number of people volunteering is increasing year on year, with 41% of men and 42% of women in the UK volunteering regularly every month, already bringing an estimated value of £22billion to UK communities in 2015.
That’s a lot of people who are already helping and doing some good, but is it enough? What about the rest of the population? The UK is lagging behind other countries, e.g. in Canada 47% of the population volunteer and in Sweden, it’s 48%. Are organisations who work with volunteers missing a trick? Our existing organisation structures don’t always fit around what volunteers want to offer and when they can offer it.
We need to consider changing our approaches to volunteering to meet the needs and interests of individuals and to open up new ways of volunteering so that people from diverse communities, with changing work patterns, e.g. flexible careers, and across all age groups, are able to offer their help and when they are able to.
Different Types of Volunteering
Not every organisation needs the ‘regular’ volunteer, many need one-off pieces of professional advice. Pro bono, targeted, skill-based and short-term support can be more effective than traditional volunteering and may be more attractive to potential volunteers as it takes less time than a weekly commitment. Some organisations need short-term help for particular circumstances- sometimes it’s just a pair of hands to set up an event, pop to a neighbour or prepares a rota.
Diverse People – Busy Lives
Interestingly, the amount of time existing volunteers spend is reducing yearly, but there are lots more people from different communities who want to get involved in helping out - they will need volunteering roles or tasks that can fit into their busy lives and diverse lifestyles.
Volunteers want to move between roles and organisations when their lives change; for example, how do we keep the 51% of young people who volunteer engaged as they start full-time work and start having young families of their own.
Asking for Help
Most people, if asked, will offer to help or volunteer but are often put off by expectations of organisations who only appear to want regular volunteers and by ‘on-boarding’ processes that take too long or feel too complicated.
Develop your Volunteers
As well as the ‘feel-good factor’, we should reflect upon what organisations can provide that offer volunteers some skill development opportunities and other inputs that can enhance career opportunities and career progression. For example, can existing volunteers act as mentors to support new volunteers – from younger age groups and across all communities and income levels.
Technology can Help!
In a rapidly changing world with technology at our fingertips, organisations can access technology to pro-actively communicate with and motivate volunteers, providing them with information and feedback about the impact their skills, knowledge, experience and time are making individually and as part of a wider team.
This conference will explore the culture of volunteering in the UK: how we can create change within the system so organisations who work with volunteers keep up with modern lifestyles and benefit from technological developments and that all the people who want to volunteer are encouraged and enabled to help in a capacity that suits them….and in turn volunteers and communities receive greater tangible benefits, such as improved health and wellbeing, skills development and employability, community cohesion and engagement.
We’ve invited leaders to share honestly and openly about how they have grappled with the challenges to support you in moving forward and moving your volunteering strategy into action. Some organisations are developing new and innovative ways of volunteering, i.e. micro, online, task-based and virtual volunteering, and not continuing to offer volunteering opportunities that fit existing organisational models and roles.
This is a must-attend conference for anyone working with volunteers. You will have opportunities to network with like-minded thinkers wanting to deliver the best outcomes for volunteers and their communities.
This event is for the people who want to make it happen- Secure your place today!