What do they do?
Volunteering and employment
Other sources of information and data
- In 2008/09 41% of adults volunteered formally (giving unpaid help through a group, club or organisation) and 62% volunteered informally (giving unpaid help as an individual to someone who is not a relative)
(2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey).
- In 2007/08 formal volunteers contributed an estimated £22.7 billion to the UK economy (UK Civil Society Almanac).
- The average number of hours spent volunteering per volunteer declined by 30% between 1997 and 2007 (Helping Out, 2007). Evidence also suggests that there is a trend towards more episodic volunteering (The UK Civil Society Almanac 2009).
- In 2008/09 42% of females formally volunteered compared to 38% of males (2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey)
- In 2008/09 42% of white adults formally volunteered compared to 34% of minority ethnic group adults. However, although different ethnic groups show different rates of formal volunteering deeper exploration shows that this is due to factors other than ethnicity such as socio-economic classification, age, geography and income etc (2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey).
- In 2008/09 35 to 49 year olds were by far the most likely age group to formally volunteer at 47%. Younger volunteers were relatively more likely to volunteer informally than formally (2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey).
- In 2008/09 32% of those with a long-term limiting illness or disability formally volunteered compared with 43% of those with no long-term limiting illness or disability (2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey).
- Rates of formal volunteering vary greatly by socio-economic classification. In 2007/08 those in higher/ lower managerial and professions were the most likely to formally volunteer (55%), with intermediate occupations/ small employers (43%), lower supervisory and technical/ semi-routine (36%), routine occupations (28%), never worked/long-term unemployed (30%) and full time students (47%) (2007/08 DCLG Citizenship Survey).
What do they do?
- Volunteers are involved in a range of sectors. In 2008/09 the most popular sectors for formal volunteers were: sport/exercise (53%), hobbies, recreation/arts/ social clubs (42%). religion (36%), children’s education/schools (34%), youth children’s activities (outside school) (32%), health, disability and social welfare (25%), local community or neighbourhood groups (24%), the environment, animals (20%) (2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey).
- Volunteers carryout a range of activities in their roles. In 2008/09 the most popular activities for formal volunteers were: organising or helping to run an event (55%), raising or handling money/ taking part in sponsored events (52%), leading the group/ member of committee (37%), providing transport/ driving (26%), giving information/advice/counselling (24%), visiting people (24%), secretarial, clerical or admin work (23%), befriending or mentoring people (21%) (2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey).
Volunteering and employment
- 87% of employers think that volunteering can have a generally positive effect on career progression for people aged 16-25. However, nearly 30% felt that volunteering was irrelevant when considering a particular job application. A further 30% felt that volunteering was only relevant if linked directly to the field of work (Youth Volunteering: Attitudes and Perceptions, 2008, v).
- In 2007/08 over 2 million people in England volunteered through an employer supported volunteering scheme. A quarter (25%) of employees are offered a scheme by their employer, with 43% of those offered a scheme taking part at least once in the last year (2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey).
- The vast majority of volunteers are happy with the advice and support they receive from the organisation that they volunteer with. Of those who want advice and support 94% say it is adequate or better (Helping Out, 2007).
- One in five organisations feel that difficulties in the recruitment or retention of volunteers will hold them back over the next three years (The UK Civil Society Almanac, 2009).
- The top five benefits from volunteering given by volunteers are: ‘a sense of satisfaction from seeing the results’ (97%), ‘I really enjoy it’ (96%), ‘it gives me a sense of personal achievement’ (88%), ‘meet people and make friends’ (86%), ‘gives me the chance to do things that I am good at’ (83%) (Helping Out, 2007).
- A number of barriers to volunteering remain. The top five reasons for not getting involved were: ‘not enough spare time’ (82%), ‘put off by bureaucracy’ (49%), ‘worried about risk/ liability’ (47%), ‘don’t know how to find out about getting involved’ (39%), ‘not got the right skills/ experience’ (39%) (Helping Out, 2007).
These figures and much more can be found at: