The Community Life survey is the best source of data we have on overall levels of volunteering. It’s a robust survey and the large sample size means that it gives good figures for different demographics, as well as covering all nine regions of England. The website can be a little tricky to navigate, but table three will probably be the most useful. Before the Community Life survey there was the annual Citizenship Survey, covering previous years back to 2001. The questions fabout volunteering are the same in both surveys, which means the results can be compared side-by-side, and we therefore have data on rates of volunteering for more than a decade.
Results from the 2015-16 survey showed that 41% of people questioned reported volunteering formally (i.e. through a group, club or organisation) at least once in the previous year in England. A quarter (27%) said they took part at least once a month (‘regular volunteers’). This survey is the best source of data about people’s volunteering behaviour in the country.
These figures show no significant change in participation since last year’s Community Life survey results (for the period May 2014 to April 2015); which were 42% and 27% respectively. If the survey results are extrapolated to the UK population as a whole, this would produce an estimate of 21.6m people formally volunteering at least once in the last year, and 13.8m people formally volunteering regularly.
Our research in this area
- Helping Out – the 2007 national survey of volunteering and charitable giving (PDF, 825KB)
- Annual return for Volunteer Centres 2012
- Volunteering for Stronger Communities
- Who gives time now? Patterns of participation in volunteering
Find out more about volunteering research
- Sign up to the IVR newsletter
- Read the latest news from IVR
- Read the latest blog posts around volunteering research on the NCVO website
- Follow IVR on Twitter
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