Vast majority of volunteers at major charities report improved wellbeing, says survey

24 Jan 2024 News

By Elroi/Adobe

Four in five volunteers at major charities say the activity improves their wellbeing, according to a new survey.

A survey of 28,494 volunteers at 10 major charities found that 80% reported improved wellbeing, while 69% said they had benefited from gaining new skills and knowledge through the training they had received.

The survey also found 89% felt comfortable being themselves, could express their opinions freely and felt listened to whilst volunteering. 

Some 85% said they had flexibility around their volunteering commitment and the same proportion would recommend their charity as a great place to volunteer.
Whilst overall the results are positive there are some significant variations across charities, according to the survey. Indeed, results on individual questions differ across the charities by as much as 55%. 

For example, when asked to respond to the statement: “I feel volunteering improves my well-being” the minimum was 40% and the maximum more than 90%.

Comparing volunteer data

The 10 charities that shared data anonymously were Citizens Advice, Girlguiding, National Trust, RNIB, Royal Voluntary Service, RSPCA, RSPB, Scouts, the British Red Cross and Trussell Trust. 

They are all members of Shaping the Future with Volunteering, a coalition of 31 charities all seeking to better promote and support volunteering. 

The first analysis published today covers the charities who asked these questions in surveys during the 12 months up to October 2023. A further analysis in summer 2024 will consolidate the results from surveys conducted since then.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Royal Voluntary Service and co-chair of Shaping the Future with Volunteering, said: “The powerful voice of these shared results is that volunteering is good for you.

“That’s why campaigns such as the Big Help Out that put volunteering centre stage and showcase the opportunities available to all are so important to get behind.”

Tina Lewis, people director at National Trust, said: “We want everyone who volunteers with us to have a positive experience so every year we survey the views of our volunteers to understand what is going well and ideas for improvement. 

“Now for the first time we can compare what our volunteers are telling us with those of other charities, and can work together as a network to share ideas and support each other.  It’s a great opportunity to collaborate and improve volunteer experiences for all.”

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