Tuesday, 01 February 2011 00:00
Daniel Stevens recently contributed an international research perspective to a conference in the Ukraine entitled ‘Volunteering – path to philanthropy for everyone?’ The experience of listening in to debates around volunteering in another country was a useful way of reflecting on where we stand in the UK. Some of the discussions at the conference stalled when confronted with knowledge gaps or inconsistencies in available data. For example, despite some ad hoc studies, no one really knew how many Ukrainians volunteer; the data available rested on narrow definitions of volunteering or from restricted populations and so suggested that only a few, mainly young, people volunteered. The Ukraine was also very low in the CAF World Giving Index, though this jarred with clear evidence of a growing interest in giving money and time. Daniel presented lessons learned in the UK about the value of a well-structured question and systematic surveys and in light of the scrapping of the Citizenship Survey, this highlighted a shared area of concern – how difficult economic times put pressure on investment in promoting and measuring volunteering.