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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering A report prepared for The Commission on the

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

A report prepared for The Commission on the Future of Volunteering by Opinion Leader

people in volunteering A report prepared for The Commission on the Future of Volunteering by Opinion
people in volunteering A report prepared for The Commission on the Future of Volunteering by Opinion
people in volunteering A report prepared for The Commission on the Future of Volunteering by Opinion
people in volunteering A report prepared for The Commission on the Future of Volunteering by Opinion

January 2008

The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering The Commission on the Future of Volunteering Volunteering

The Commission on the Future of Volunteering

The Commission on the Future of Volunteering

Volunteering Development Council in order to develop volunteering in England.

Chair

The Baroness Neuberger DBE

Members

Professor John Annette - Pro Vice Master, Birkbeck College, University of London

Bishop John Austin - Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Leicester *

Lord Bruce-Lockhart of the Weald OBE – Former Leader of Kent County Council and Former Chairman, Local Government Association

Alistair Burt MP - Shadow Minister for Local Government & Regeneration

Professor Justin Davis Smith – Director, Institute for Volunteering Research

Kathleen Duncan OBE - Independent Consultant

Stephen Dunmore - Chief Executive, Big Lottery Fund

Joseph Gordon – Former member of v20 and Trustee of Young Achievers Trust

Professor Margaret Harris - Professor of Voluntary Sector Organisation, Aston University

Andrew Hind - Chief Executive, Charity Commission

Tom Levitt MP - Chair, All Party Group on the Community and Voluntary Sector

Imam Monawar Hussain - Muslim Tutor, Eton College

Barbara Monroe - Chief Executive, St Christopher's Hospice

Fiona Reynolds CBE - Director General, The National Trust

Mary Riddell – Columnist, The Observer

David Robinson OBE - Founder, Community Links

Georgina Watts – Independent Consultant

Advisors

Baroness Hanham of Kensington DBE – Chair, England Volunteering Development Council

Baroness Pitkeathley of Caversham CBE – President, England Volunteering Development Council and Volunteering England

Christopher Spence CBE – Former Chief Executive, Volunteering England

Secretariat

Provided by Volunteering England

Meta Zimmeck – Former Public Affairs Strategist, Volunteering England

Suzie Curran - Events Organiser, Volunteering England

Andy Forster - Former Policy Strategist, Volunteering England

Lorraine Prince - Administrative Assistant, Volunteering England

was established by the England

a long-term vision for

* Sadly Bishop John Austin became ill and died during the course of our work

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

A report prepared for The Commission on the Future of Volunteering by Opinion Leader

how to engage people in volunteering A report prepared for The Commission on the Future of
how to engage people in volunteering A report prepared for The Commission on the Future of
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3
Contents 1 Executive summary 1 2 Introduction 3 2.1 Background 3 2.2 Objectives 3 2.3

Contents

1 Executive summary

1

2 Introduction

3

2.1 Background

3

2.2 Objectives

3

2.3 Approach

3

3 Perceptions of volunteering

5

3.1 What volunteering means to people

5

3.2 Images of a volunteer

7

4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities?

8

4.1 The link between volunteering and leisure activities

8

4.2 What people get out of leisure activities

9

4.3 The perceived benefits of volunteering

10

5 Triggers and barriers to volunteering

13

5.1 Triggers to volunteering

13

5.2 Barriers to volunteering

15

5.3 Overcoming barriers to volunteering

17

6 The ideal future of volunteering

20

7 Conclusions and recommendations

21

8 Appendices

23

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

1

1 Executive summary

Perceptions of volunteering

> Perceptions of volunteering are influenced by the level of contact people have had with volunteering activities and their cultural background.

> There is a core understanding of volunteering that includes helping other people in your community, or society more generally, and is associated with unpaid work that is carried out in your free time and is often connected to a charity, formal organisation or group.

> People do not feel that volunteering extends to favours for others or activities that are socially expected of people.

Volunteering and leisure activities

> Volunteering is not generally considered to be a leisure activity because of the perceived differences in motivation between volunteering and engaging in leisure activities.

> However, people are able to identify many benefits in volunteering that overlap with leisure activities.

> Often these benefits are not top-of-mind perceptions when people think about volunteering but they could become more so if they were communicated strongly.

> But volunteering will always be more than just a leisure activity and, although it is important to emphasise the leisure aspect of volunteering, it is also crucial to highlight the ways in which it is different and the other benefits that volunteering brings.

Benefits of volunteering

The key benefits that people identify for volunteering are:

> escapism and ‘me time’

> developing new friendships and social networks

> excitement and doing things that are out of the ordinary

> keeping fit and improving health

> developing an interest in something you love

> developing yourself and your skills

> a sense of achievement

> developing self-confidence and self awareness

> making a valuable contribution to society

> gaining the respect of your community and peers

Barriers to volunteering

There are some negative perceptions of volunteering and volunteers that need to be addressed before people will consider volunteering, including a stereotypical image of volunteers as do-gooders and the perception that volunteering is a sacrifice rather than something to be enjoyed.

2

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to
2 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering In addition, people identify the following barriers to

In addition, people identify the following barriers to volunteering:

> lack of information about what opportunities are available and how to get involved

> time pressures from work and family

> access problems: both distances to travel and ability to accommodate disabled people

> health: older participants perceive volunteering as energetic and too physically demanding

> lack of motivation: many younger people cannot see any active reasons why they should volunteer and do not feel attracted to volunteering

> lack of confidence: some can be intimidated by their perceptions of volunteers and volunteering

> family and community expectations and commitments

Ways of overcoming barriers to volunteering

People identify some ways the barriers to volunteering can be overcome:

> getting the message out: using communications to make people aware of the variety of opportunities that are available to them, where they are and what their contribution would mean

> creating the time for volunteering: helping people to find the time to volunteer

> making volunteering personal to people: matching specific interests or skills to volunteering and helping people to understand why they should get involved

> fitting volunteering in around family life: finding ways to enable people to volunteer that do not make them feel like they are missing out on family life

> making volunteering feel fun: highlighting the personal benefits to people of volunteering

> making sure everyone can get involved: ensuring that volunteering is as accessible as possible and that it does not exclude anyone

The future of volunteering

Few people advocate compulsory volunteering but they feel that the social structures and norms should be put in place to make it central to society; for example, introducing volunteering to children, creating more family-oriented volunteering opportunities and allowing time off work to volunteer.

The future of volunteering would incorporate a wider range of facilitators than at present to reflect a social movement towards volunteering, which includes individuals, groups and corporations who do not benefit from volunteering but are embedded in the community.

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

3

2 Introduction

2.1 Background

The Commission on the Future of Volunteering was established by the England Volunteering Development Council, following the Year of the Volunteer in 2005. The Commission, as an independent body, has the task of reporting on the shape of volunteering in England today and ways that it may be encouraged and expanded in the future. It produced its findings in January 2008.

One complexity the Commission has faced, is that ‘volunteering’ can be a difficult term to define, and can mean different things to different people. The Commission has classified the term to mean any time spent, unpaid, working for the benefit of others (outside the bracket of close relatives) or the environment. This would include not only formal volunteering, through clubs or organisations, etc, but also informal volunteering, done on an individual basis.

To gain a picture of volunteering in the nation, the Commission called for evidence from a range of individuals, organisations and commentators and held a variety of consultations throughout England. However, this call for evidence does not include non-volunteers, or lapsed volunteers, who are harder to contact than those currently volunteering in the community.

Given their belief that volunteering is for everyone, it was important for the Commission to know what barriers stopped non-volunteers from becoming active volunteers. Consequently, the Commission asked Opinion Leader to organise discussion groups to explore the thoughts and feelings of non-volunteers (with some active volunteers) across England. Not only would these groups be designed to explore the barriers to volunteering, they would also formulate and consider possible solutions to these barriers as well as examining wider perceptions and definitions of volunteering.

2.2 Objectives

The objectives of the research were to explore:

> perceptions of volunteering and what activities are considered to be volunteering by different communities

> reasons for not volunteering and barriers to volunteering

> how barriers could be overcome and what would attract people to volunteering

> how volunteering fits into leisure time and its relationship with other leisure activities

> whether there is a lifecycle to volunteering that stems from a range of attitudes, experiences and priorities that may accompany views in different age brackets

> future-gazing with participants, to find out what their ideal volunteer experience and their ideal volunteer facilitator would be

2.3 Approach

The project used discussion groups to explore the research objectives. Such groups allow participants to investigate their thoughts, feelings and opinions, sparking off each other and building on the opinions of other group members in a way that would not be possible in quantitative or one-to-one interviews. The extended length of the workshops (ranging from 1.5 to 2 hours) allowed more time for groups to connect with each other and to use creative exercises to explore in detail the interactive nexus of barriers and incentives to volunteering.

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three
4 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering The eight discussion groups were held in three

The eight discussion groups were held in three different locations, to ensure that the research obtained views from both rural and urban areas, across the country:

> four discussion groups were held in Leeds on 4 and 5 July

> two discussion groups were held in Banbury on 28 June

> two discussion groups were held in London on 9 and 13 July

Each group had between four and eight participants, and one moderator who steered and stimulated discussion. Whilst the moderator encouraged and examined differences of opinion, participants were grouped with people of a similar life-stage (eg pre-children, with children, or post-children), ethnicity or socio-economic grouping. This level of homogeneity helped to sustain conversation and to maintain enough cohesion and familiarity to make participants comfortable with sharing their thoughts and feelings.

Each discussion group opened with an introduction from the group moderator, explaining the aims of the research and the agenda for the session. Each participant had been asked to keep a lifestyle diary to record their activities in the last week. The first exercise explored these activities as a group, asking participants the motivations for each activity and what participants got out of them. The group then explored how participants understood the term ‘volunteering’ and the words and images they used to describe a typical volunteer. This exploration was clarified by a pen-portrait exercise in which the group were split into pairs and given three case studies of people being active in their community. A discussion followed in the pairs and then as a group as to whether these case studies were examples of volunteering. To explore barriers and solutions to volunteering, two non-volunteers were asked to walk through a journey towards volunteering imagining physical barriers and their solutions with the help of the group. With this in mind, the group discussed how these solutions might work for other non-volunteers and how volunteering might be fitted into their current lifestyles:

using some of the outcomes of this discussion the groups designed posters to encourage others like them to volunteer. Finally, the groups engaged in a future visualisation exercise, individually imagining their perfect volunteering experience before sharing their vision with the rest of the group.

As with any research of this kind, the findings can provide insight only into the views of those who take part rather than those who do not.

Who took part

In total 56 people took part in the discussion groups. Each group was recruited by a recruiter in the area, according to the specification provided by Opinion Leader and agreed with the Commission. The following chart details who attended each group:

Number of

Life-stage

BME/faith

SEG

Location

participants

groups/other

8

Pre-family

2 x BME per group

C2D

Leeds

8

Family

2 x BME per group

ABC1

Leeds

8

Post-family

No quota

ABC1

Banbury

8

Family

No quota

C2D

Banbury

8

All

Muslim

All

Leeds

8

All

Hindu

All

Leeds

4

All

Disabled people

All

London

4

All

Disabled people

All

London

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

5

3 Perceptions of volunteering

There are varying perceptions of volunteering, which are influenced by the level of contact people have had with volunteering activities and ethnic and cultural perspectives. However, there is a core understanding of volunteering across all audiences, which is

> helping other people, your community or society more generally

> unpaid work which is carried out in your free/leisure time

> often connected to a charity/formal organisation/group

> activities which are above and beyond what society expects of people in their daily lives

> something from which participants derive a sense of achievement and satisfaction

3.1 What volunteering means to people

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is first and foremost thought to include activities that contribute towards a specific charity or cause. Activities can be one-off or those that are carried out on a regular basis – for example, raising money through a fun run or working in a charity shop one afternoon a week.

Beyond this, most participants do recognise a broader definition of volunteering and feel that it can also include a range of activities that help individuals and the community; for example, driving a minibus to day centres or being a Cub/Brownie leader. There is some debate, however, as to whether certain activities, which people appear to do as a favour, can be considered volunteering.

Participants in Banbury, a semi-rural location, feel that volunteering has a different meaning in small towns and villages because it is more likely to be ad hoc and done through friendship networks in small communities where people know and trust each other. In larger towns these networks don’t necessarily exist and so volunteering is perceived to be done through organised groups/clubs/charities.

In discussions, participants were presented with scenarios, all of which would be considered volunteering by Volunteering England. These included

> someone who coaches an under-12s football team on a Saturday morning

> a lady who regularly visits her elderly neighbour who had a bad fall

> someone who was asked by her friend to make cakes for a community street party

All participants considered the scenario about helping to coach a football team to be ‘volunteering’ because this person is giving up their free time and is not paid, and the activity is connected to an actual group or organisation. There is less agreement about whether the other activities can be considered truly volunteering. A number of participants argue that in these circumstances the person is simply acting as a good neighbour and friend should, and that they are therefore doing only what society expects of them as a decent human being.

Certain activities are not considered to be volunteering because they are activities that one is expected to do out of kinship and friendship, or they are simply considered good manners. This is particularly true for practising Hindu and Muslim participants. They may not therefore perceive helping a neighbour or contributing to a community

6

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends
6 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends

activity to be volunteering. Rather, helping family, friends and your wider ethnic community is considered to be an integral part of being a member of that community – it is something you just do. One participant, for example, regularly helps with translation at a local JobCentre but does not consider this to be volunteering, as it is carried out for the benefit of his community. Similarly, providing care to the extended family (eg elderly relatives), which might otherwise be provided by health and social services, is not considered volunteering but rather what is culturally expected.

‘I’ve helped interpreting, you know with people like JobCentres and how to write letters, and filling in forms. But to me that was like good will.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

‘Because my dad’s had a stroke and my mum’s not well. And it’s like my sister-in-law, she needs to go somewhere. And so I go down to cook for them, and you know, pick up their kids from work and stuff. But I don’t see that as voluntary.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

How people feel about volunteering

People who do not volunteer can have some negative perceptions and associations with volunteering. Many acknowledge that volunteering has its own intrinsic rewards, such as a feeling of achievement and satisfaction, but some also feel it can be onerous and require a certain degree of self-sacrifice. Volunteering requires individuals to ‘give up’ something – their free time, resources, expertise – for what they may feel is an unequal and non-tangible reward. This perceived inequality between sacrifice/effort and reward can lead to a sense that volunteering is a less valuable activity than paid work or other leisure activities.

Some participants define volunteering as helping others ‘less fortunate’ than oneself. A number of people feel that volunteering helps ‘put things into perspective’ or ‘makes you realise how lucky you are’. Volunteering can be seen therefore as an unequal or patronising relationship whereby the volunteer is in a position of superiority by virtue of their being ‘more fortunate’ than those they are helping.

‘Makes you appreciate what you’ve got more of, you know, especially when you’re helping disadvantaged children, disabled children, anything like that.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

However, participants from the groups of practising Hindus and Muslims and of disabled participants perceive volunteering as a well-respected and highly valued activity. Key to this for Hindu and Muslim participants is the important role played by community and kinship in these cultures. Many consider the values embodied in volunteering to be closely aligned with the values and expectations of their families and communities, which emphasise the importance of helping others.

‘Within my community we do make sure we look after each other, even if you find them in the street, especially if they are elderly. We make sure that we look after them, without being asked, because that’s the way we've been brought up to, say, look after your elderly, but within the same street there could be another community that have not been brought up to do that.’ Practising Hindu, Leeds

For disabled participants, volunteering is seen as a mechanism whereby people can make a valued contribution to the lives of others, their community and society. It is thought to provide a real sense of achievement for those who are involved, and enables the development of new skills and self-confidence. Volunteering is also perceived as a means for developing social networks with people one might not otherwise come into contact with. Importantly, volunteering is perceived by disabled participants as a mutual, equal exchange between parties: volunteers give their time and effort to help others in return for a range of rewards, including a sense of achievement, learning new skills, increasing in confidence and building social networks.

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

7

3.2 Images of a volunteer

The word ‘volunteer’ can conjure up both positive and negative images. Many participants have a stereotypical image of who a volunteer is – usually a retired lady who works in a charity shop.

‘I always imagine the little old dears that are in the charity shops.’ Empty nester, Banbury

Negative images of volunteering do exist and can contribute to the reasons why some people are deterred from becoming a volunteer. However, most participants do recognise that, in reality, volunteers can come from all walks of life and are generally motivated by a genuine desire and enthusiasm to help others. For most people a volunteer could be ‘someone like me’.

Positive images of volunteers are to a large extent based on people’s personal experiences of volunteering themselves or people they know who are volunteers.

> Volunteers are thought to be caring, helpful and community spirited, characteristics that predispose them to volunteering.

> They are also considered to be active, enthusiastic and positive people.

> A volunteer can be someone from any cultural, ethnic or social background, and any age.

‘A lot of them are sort of church goers as well do a lot of charity stuff, don’t they.’ Empty nester, Banbury

Negative images of volunteers seem to be based less on personal experience and more on received opinions and stereotypical images of volunteers, and are generally connected to the perceived motivations people have for volunteering. Negative perceptions of volunteers include:

> lonely/depressed people who find it difficult to get paid work and who lack social skills to build up relationships outside the supportive environment of volunteering

> do-gooders – people with a holier-than-thou attitude, for whom volunteering is about getting praise and recognition from others for their efforts

> wealthy people who do not need to work and feel they should do something to help others less fortunate than themselves; these people are considered to be quite patronising and snobbish

‘You get the ones that think they’re doing well because they want to keep busy, right, sense of duty. Makes them feel better.’ Empty nester, Banbury

‘I always think of an “anorak”. I just get this image of an anorak, you know what I mean?’ Empty nester, Banbury

‘Actually, I’ve thought of one, this is somebody else I know, somebody who loves the limelight and has to have their face in the paper every week.’ Empty nester, Banbury

‘Wealthy people that have got a lot of time on their hands, have people that do everything for them, so it’s just getting a feeling and to save face, so you do charity work.’ Pre-family, Leeds

Those who are volunteers themselves or who consider volunteering to be a valuable and well-respected activity are less likely to have negative perceptions of volunteers, although they are aware that these are views held by other people in society. Some of the disabled people who took part in the research, for example, feel that whilst they are proud to call themselves volunteers others may have less positive impressions, which can affect their overall perception about the value of volunteering and the contribution it can make to society.

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

8 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure
8 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure
8 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure
8 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure

4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities?

4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of
4 How can volunteering fit in with leisure activities? This section explores the potential benefits of

This section explores the potential benefits of volunteering and ways in which it could be incorporated into people’s leisure activities.

> Volunteering is not generally considered to be a leisure activity because of the perceived differences in motivation between volunteering and engaging in leisure activities.

> However, people are able to identify many benefits in volunteering that overlap with leisure activities.

> Often these benefits are not top-of-mind perceptions when people think about volunteering but they could become more so if they were communicated strongly.

> But volunteering will always be more than just a leisure activity, and, although it is important to emphasise the leisure aspect of volunteering, it is also crucial to highlight the ways in which it is different and the other benefits that volunteering brings.

4.1 The link between volunteering and leisure activities

People do not automatically see volunteering as a leisure activity. For those who volunteer, volunteering can be seen as important work and they do not want to belittle it by thinking of it as a leisure activity. For those who do not volunteer, volunteering can be seen as a sacrifice of your leisure time rather than an activity within it. Leisure activities are often seen as somewhat selfish, while volunteering is considered to be selfless.

However, once people begin to think about the benefits of volunteering, they identify several areas where volunteering can provide the same benefit as leisure activities. Introducing these benefits into communications about volunteering will help to maximise their appeal and present them as alternative options to the leisure activities people currently engage in.

People also identify benefits of volunteering that are different from those they identify for leisure activities. For example, volunteering provides several benefits that are closer to work than leisure, including their place on a CV. Volunteering also has its own unique benefits, which are not perceived to be given by leisure or paid work, and these are core to the way people define volunteering and what makes it different from other activities.

Different groups respond in a variety of ways to the perceived benefits of volunteering:

although the benefits that are similar to leisure activities are very motivating for some, the potential to gain work experience or to make a difference will be more important to others.

The next sections in this chapter explore in more detail the benefits that people identify in the leisure activities that they do and the benefits they perceive in volunteering. These highlight the similarities and differences between volunteering and leisure activities.

perceive in volunteering. These highlight the similarities and differences between volunteering and leisure activities.
perceive in volunteering. These highlight the similarities and differences between volunteering and leisure activities.

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

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4.2 What people get out of leisure activities

Developing relationships

A great deal of participants’ free time is devoted to developing existing and new relationships – with friends, family and new acquaintances. A number of activities can deliver this benefit, including spending time with family, socialising with others, and supporting friends and family. To a certain extent, life stage and culture can determine which activities deliver the benefit of developing relationships and bonds with people. Empty nesters, for example, especially those who have grandchildren, often prioritise spending time with their family above other activities.

‘I think the highlight of my week is going to visit my grandchildren on Monday evening. They only live around the corner and I see them most days but my visit on Monday they absolutely love because I go to their house.’ Empty nester, Banbury

For pre-family participants, spending time with family delivers this benefit less than does socialising with friends – for example, through going to the pub/clubbing or playing sports.

Supporting (extended) family – for example, caring for elderly relatives or translating documents – can take up a large amount of free time for practising Muslim and Hindu participants. Whilst this can be an enjoyable experience and has the benefit of strengthening family and community ties, some participants feel that this actually takes up such a large amount of time it doesn’t leave much room for doing other things, such as seeing friends or spending time by oneself.

Relaxation/escapism

Being able to relax and escape the daily routine is an important aspect of participants’ free time. Activities that enable this include more sedentary or passive tasks such as reading, watching TV/films and playing on the computer, which allow people to switch off and enter a different world. Physical activities, such as gardening or walking, which are more relevant to older (50+) participants, are also able to deliver this benefit.

Escapism may take a different form for those with children living at home, for whom a night out with friends can provide the opportunity to detach from family routine and responsibilities.

‘I have a night out with the lads once every couple of months … Just letting your hair down.’ Children at home, Banbury

Keeping fit and healthy

Many participants feel that keeping fit and healthy is an important way to spend free time, although this can sometimes feel like a chore to some and is often hard to fit in around other priorities, especially for those with younger children living at home. Participants mention a number of activities that enable them to develop/maintain their health and fitness, including going to the gym, walking, gardening, playing sports and dancing.

‘It makes me feel good, keeps me young.’ Empty nester, Banbury

Being creative

Drawing, knitting, cooking and quilting are all identified by participants as activities that allow them to develop their creative skills. This benefit appears to be particularly relevant for participants over 50, who often have more time to pursue their creative interests.

‘I really like watching cookery programmes and I find them quite enjoyable. Ideas. Yes, the creativity, the ideas they come up with.’ Empty nester, Banbury

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living
10 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Excitement Some participants, usually those with children living

Excitement

Some participants, usually those with children living at home, seek excitement and experiences out of the ordinary in their free time. Whilst a number spoke about wanting to do things such as bungee jumping and abseiling, they in fact sought out less adrenaline- fuelled experiences in their leisure time. Reading thriller/horror books and watching high- adrenaline TV shows (eg CSI, 24) can deliver this benefit to a certain extent. These more restrained activities are attributed with the benefit of excitement more by participants with children living at home, whose time pressures and family/work responsibilities prevent them from pursuing more out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

4.3 The perceived benefits of volunteering

Benefits that are similar to leisure activities

The following benefits are similar to those that participants identify for leisure activities. While these benefits were identified by both volunteers and non-volunteers, they were not generally thought to be triggers to volunteer in the earlier part of the discussion. This suggests that these benefits are not top of mind and could be highlighted in communications to encourage people to volunteer. This is particularly true for pre-family participants and those in a family life stage, who may perceive volunteering as ‘boring’ or ‘hard work’ at present but would be more likely to take it up if they thought it was more fun or fitted in better with their lives.

Escapism and ‘me time’ Many participants feel that they would like more time in the day for themselves, to get away from the pressures of family and work life. Volunteering is perceived as providing an opportunity to get away from it all through relaxing activities such as dog walking or gardening but also simply by virtue of doing something different, with different people, outside the day-to-day routine. More specifically, participants with children living at home or those who look after family members (eg elderly relatives or grandchildren) identify this as a key benefit of volunteering.

‘When you’ve got kids, you’re doing all kids’ stuff at the weekend, you’re not doing stuff for yourselves, and I wouldn’t mind just a few hours to myself every now and again.’ Family at home, Leeds

Developing new friendships and social networks The world of volunteering is generally perceived to be sociable and one that embraces diversity. Volunteering therefore can enable people to meet others with whom they might not ordinarily come into contact in their day-to-day lives, thus broadening their social, and often cultural, horizons. This benefit is identified by most but is especially emphasised by pre-family and disabled participants.

‘You can make friends as well out of helping somebody at times.’ Practising Hindu, Leeds

Excitement and doing things that are out of the ordinary This benefit is connected to the perception that volunteering can open new doors and provide opportunities to get involved with things one wouldn’t ordinarily do. Participants with children living at home identify this as a benefit which they primarily believe can be delivered through involvement with youth groups, which are thought to be dynamic and energetic environments.

Keeping fit and improving health A number of participants see volunteering as enabling health and fitness, and providing opportunities to fit physical exercise into busy routines. For example, those with school- age children might get involved in coaching their sports team once a week instead of going to the gym. Older participants feel that volunteering activities such as walking a neighbour’s dog or doing gardening for elderly people can deliver this benefit.

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Disabled participants stress that volunteering can help ease existing physical impairments because it keeps them active.

‘But the main thing I would truthfully say is it is good helping people but it is for myself and it helps me with my joints.’ Disabled, London

The contribution volunteering can make to psychological well-being is also identified by some participants, who believe it can help ease depression and build self-confidence.

Developing an interest or doing something you love

One of the triggers to volunteering is being able to do something that you love. Volunteering can give people access to activities that they enjoy doing or bring them closer to a cause they feel strongly about. Non-volunteers recognise that those with a specific interest in wildlife, climate change, animals, etc, may be able to develop this interest through volunteering, but they do not immediately think of volunteering as enabling them to do leisure activities that they love, such as swimming, football or visiting art galleries. However, volunteers mention doing something they love, including leisure activities they enjoy, as one of the key benefits of their activities.

‘They should volunteer for interest, if you were interested in whatever it is that they are volunteering to do.’ Children living at home, Leeds

‘I did just win the under-18s Player of the Year for Yorkshire because I'm a pretty good player; that’s why we won it. It's outcomes like that that I enjoy; when you're rewarded for it; it’s not like being voluntary; even if it's not paid.’ Pre-family, Leeds

Benefits that are similar to those you get from work or study

Volunteering is not just a leisure activity; for some it is their regular employment and they value the work-related benefits it provides, such as training and skills development and a sense of self-worth and confidence. Benefits that are similar to those you get from work or study may be more appealing to people in a pre-family life stage – particularly younger people who are looking to develop their CVs, people who have retired and would like to continue being in a working environment, and those who for other reasons do not have paid work.

Developing yourself and your skills All participants feel that volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing ones through sharing skills with others and training that may be offered when one becomes a volunteer. For pre-family participants this is seen as strong motivation for getting involved in volunteering, as it can add value to CVs and help improve employment prospects.

Disabled participants in particular are aware of the training that is on offer for volunteers and believe that the opportunity to learn and develop skills, which might not otherwise be on offer to them, is a key benefit of volunteering.

A sense of achievement One of the core characteristics of volunteering is that it gives those who take part a real sense of achievement at having made some kind of difference to the lives of other people. Many of those who currently volunteer stress the importance of this benefit for keeping them motivated and committed to volunteering.

Disabled people in particular identify this as a key benefit of volunteering. A number of participants volunteer for disability action groups and feel a strong sense of achievement that they are making a difference to the lives of those they are helping personally and also to the lives of disabled people more generally, on whose behalf they may be advocating.

‘I lost my sight 13 years ago and that is why I got involved in it. I mean it was like to promote stuff being put on tape and large print everything because when I first lost my sight there was hardly anything around on tape. So like it was about fighting for stuff. Fighting for people’s rights.’ Disabled, London

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,
12 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘if you're part of a project or something,

‘if you're part of a project or something, and you have volunteered and if you see something happening because of that, you know you think ‘Ah, you did something’ to get that outcome.’ Practising Hindu

Developing self-confidence and self-awareness Whilst lack of self-confidence can be a barrier to volunteering, many feel that, once this barrier is crossed, volunteering can enable people to become more confident and give them the opportunity to achieve things they believed weren’t possible. This kind of self-belief and awareness of one’s capabilities is extremely empowering. This benefit is emphasised by disabled participants in particular.

‘I don’t know what to expect from a disabled child or somebody with cancer, or somebody with drips coming from them or whatever it is and you think I cannot face it but I think when you are faced with it, you get an inner strength and you can do it.’ Empty nester, Leeds

Benefits that are unique to volunteering

People recognise that, while volunteering provides benefits that are similar to leisure activities and work, it has unique qualities that make it different to both. These can be perceived in a negative light, as has been noted; however, they can also be strongly motivating benefits, especially when combined with other benefits that are more generic. A sense of making a difference, in particular, is thought to be a unique benefit to volunteering, which could make people choose it over and above leisure activities with similar leisure benefits.

Making a valuable contribution Many believe that one of the key benefits of volunteering is the valuable contribution it enables people to make to the lives of individuals, their community or society more generally. The benefits to society are indirect, as well as direct – for example, through providing services voluntarily which obviate the need for government money to be spent in the future.

‘Making a difference. You know, feeling better in yourself like you’re doing your bit. That’s one of the biggest buzzes and one of the biggest things about it [volunteering].’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

‘The benefits would be to make the kids happy, put a smile on their face; we feel good and that is our reward, to see them happy.’ Children at home, Leeds

Gaining the respect of your community/peers Volunteering for many is perceived as a virtuous, respectable activity and something that is held in high regard by one’s community, as it is often carried out for the benefit of that community. Getting involved in volunteering can therefore help people gain the respect of their peers and achieve a certain standing within their community. Practising Muslim participants stress this as a key benefit of volunteering, and believe that it can help one become a ‘pillar of the community’.

‘You could be a face of the community, like a pillar of a community. So if somebody is organising something, and the community respected you if you were doing something, you could get more … respect.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

‘Making a difference. And we put being a role model because if you're doing something right they're going to look up to you and want to do it for themselves. It’s about respect; you get a lot of respect for volunteering.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

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5 Triggers and barriers to volunteering

Many of the participants in the research had some interest in volunteering and claimed to have considered it. The key triggers to volunteering are:

> entering a new life stage; personal experience; personal interest and enjoyment; perceived benefits

However, people cite several barriers that prevent them from volunteering even though they may be interested:

> lack of Information, time and access

> health concerns

> lack of motivation or confidence

> family and community expectations and commitments

On prompting, participants could see ways in which these barriers might be overcome, which would entail:

> getting the message out; making time for volunteering; fitting volunteering in around family life; making volunteering personal; making volunteering feel fun; making sure everyone can get involved

5.1 Triggers to volunteering

From participants’ discussions it is possible to identify four key triggers, as follows.

Life stage

For some participants, volunteering is perceived as easier to take part in or more relevant at different times of life, and certain life events can trigger interest. Retirement, for example, may prompt some people to look into volunteering, as they may have more time on their hands. Similarly, empty nesters may wish to devote time they used to spend looking after their children to do volunteer work.

‘As you get older you have more time, you’re more settled. When you’re young and you just got married, you got kids … my God that takes every minute of your time.’ Empty nester, Banbury

It must not be assumed, however, that, simply because someone is retired or no longer has children living at home, they have time to spare: a number of participants in these situations feel that lack of time is still a major barrier to volunteering.

People with school-age children may also become interested in volunteering through the activities of their children; for example, driving a sports team minibus or making refreshments after a rugby match.

‘When my children were growing up I got involved in what they were doing in the town, so then you would get involved with their clubs and organisations.’ Empty nester, Banbury

For pre-family participants, the perceived value that volunteering can add to their CV may be the main trigger to volunteering. For disabled participants and older participants, volunteering may be triggered by the benefits volunteering can bring to health and well-being.

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment
14 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment

‘Well, I’m doing A Levels at the moment and I’ve to go to Uni, so like I have heard from

a lot of the teachers that are doing a lot of voluntary work – it looks good on your CV.’ Practising Hindu, Leeds

Life stage can influence whether or not people volunteer but also the type of volunteering that people engage in. For example, people can move from more active volunteering pursuits to less strenuous activities as they get older.

Susan is a mother of four. She always attended parents’ evenings and school events. When she heard that her daughter’s secondary school was closing down, she was anxious to do what she could to stop the closure. Forming and leading a group of volunteers, she started a campaign to stop the closure. The campaign required a lot of commitment but Susan’s determination to make sure her daughter’s education was not affected kept her involved.

The campaign drove her to speak in front of large audiences, confront the council in person and make appeals to the rest of the school. For Susan, this was a completely new experience, which took her outside her comfort zone but left her feeling confident and empowered.

‘It was a real adrenaline buzz, because I used to have to go to council meetings and give speeches and things.’

Personal experience

Knowing someone who has been affected by certain circumstances, such as an illness or bereavement, or having been affected by this oneself can act as a trigger to volunteering. People may tend to get involved with charities and organisations that aim to help those in situations of which they have personal experience.

However, disabled participants stress that it should not be assumed that their personal experiences will trigger their involvement with organisations for people with the same impairment as themselves. Just because a person is visually impaired, it does not follow that they will be only interested strongly in volunteering for organisations that help other visually impaired people.

‘I think you tend to choose a charity to suit yourself. My husband did that bike ride and

he did it for Martin House because one of our rugby lads died at 15 last year, and it was at Martin House, and we have done a lot of events at the Rugby Club for that charity. So it is always sort of close to home.’ Children at home, Leeds

‘Or I've had people say “you’ve got arthritis, why aren’t you volunteering for ARC, the arthritis thing?” But I don’t want to just do one for that; I just want to do volunteering with something that can help the whole community get money.’ Disabled, London

can help the whole community get money.’ Disabled, London Amanda’s mother was terminally ill and was
can help the whole community get money.’ Disabled, London Amanda’s mother was terminally ill and was
can help the whole community get money.’ Disabled, London Amanda’s mother was terminally ill and was

Amanda’s mother was terminally ill and was being looked after by a local hospice. Sadly, her mother passed away but Amanda felt that the hospice had provided her mother with comfort and peace during the last days of her life. For Amanda, the hospice is a place of peace that is very close to her heart. She is keen to help the hospice with their fundraising and she has recently raised £600 by throwing a party for friends to benefit the hospice.

‘It’s just such a peaceful place … she got her wish that she died there. So it’s just we do all we can for them.’

Amanda also cleans the fish tanks for the hospice: she had noticed that the fish tanks were dirty when her mother was in the hospice and Amanda volunteered to clean them. She now returns on a regular basis, so that the other occupants of the hospice can enjoy seeing the fish.

to clean them. She now returns on a regular basis, so that the other occupants of
to clean them. She now returns on a regular basis, so that the other occupants of

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

15

Personal interest/enjoyment

Volunteering can help people pursue personal interests they may not otherwise be able to. Participants stress the importance of linking volunteering opportunities to personal interest and see matching skills and interests to volunteering as a key trigger to involvement.

‘I absolutely loathe football and if somebody said to me do you want to coach under- 12s. I mean why would I want to do something I hate doing? In my own time, no. I think when you [agree to] do something it’s about skill and enjoyment’. Empty nester, Banbury

Louise loves gardening and when she moved to a 10th floor flat she found she really missed her garden. She found a volunteering opportunity that enabled her to carry on gardening and doing the activity she loves. She also likes the fact that her gardening improves the local park and public spaces so that other people can enjoy them, too.

5.2 Barriers to volunteering

A number of barriers exist that prevent or deter people from becoming volunteers once

their interest is triggered. Certain barriers may be more or less relevant for people from different communities, for disabled people or for people at different stages of their lives. The key barriers to volunteering participants identify are outlined below.

Information

Many participants feel that volunteering does not have a very high profile and that information about how to get involved is not readily available. If people cannot find the information they are looking for quickly and easily, a large number are likely to be deterred from pursuing volunteering any further.

For disabled participants and those from black and minority ethnic communities, this barrier can be compounded by the fact that what information is available is often not in accessible formats, such as Braille or community languages.

‘I’ve been trying for ages to help disabled children, but I’ve looked everywhere and there’s nothing, nothing; nowhere I can find like somewhere to go to actually help. I’ve looked on the internet, there’s nothing on there, no telephone numbers or anything like that.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

‘You’ve got to know where your needs are. You can’t volunteer when you don’t know what to volunteer for.’ Empty nester, Banbury

Time

Time is mentioned frequently as a barrier to volunteering. For many, becoming a

volunteer is perceived as giving up your free time. To become a volunteer would mean,

in many people’s eyes, sacrificing doing something else that may be considered more

important (eg spending time with family), and this may be a trade-off they are not prepared to make. Almost all participants share this view but it is most common among those who have children living at home, whose days are taken up with running

a household, taking children to and from school and other activities, and often working full time.

‘I don’t think, there aren’t enough hours in the day, that’s how I always feel, I've always felt. There aren’t enough hours in the day. You go to work, you come home, you’re shattered, you want to put your feet up, watch the box and sometimes do something.’ Practising Hindu, Leeds

‘Yes, that that regular commitment of I’m going to do one Wednesday, or … that’s hard, I suppose most people round this table would find that very hard. … You know, it’s not like I’m committing a full day, I couldn’t commit a full day.’ Empty nester, Banbury

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier
16 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering However, time is not necessarily the main barrier

However, time is not necessarily the main barrier for all. Pre-family participants admit that lack of time is not necessarily a barrier for them as much as is lack of motivation to get involved.

Making a commitment

Engaging in volunteering is seen by many as making a commitment to regular activities. People can be afraid to start volunteering because they do not want to let people down if they are unable to turn up regularly. People with young families, in particular, can feel that they already have a lot of commitments that they are unable to avoid and therefore can be reluctant to take on more, which could make them feel burdened and guilty if they were unable to fulfil it.

‘Just committing regularly and maybe long term is the barrier.’ Family life stage, Leeds

‘I wouldn’t say I would be able to commit to something regularly every week and commit and stick to it; things always crop up that take priority I suppose.’ Empty nester, Banbury

Access

For disabled people, lack of access is a key barrier. This can be in terms of lack of access to information, as well as lack of physical access because volunteer organisations do not always provide facilities to enable the participation of disabled people.

Other participants feel that lack of transport, or the ability to pay for transport that may be required to volunteer, can act as a barrier. By the same token, many stress the importance of volunteering opportunities being local, and feel that having to travel long distances would prevent their involvement.

‘My dad has given up driving; he was always willing to volunteer to help people and do things but then when he stopped driving it was like harder to get to places.’ Family life stage, Leeds

‘Can I just say something else which I think is a barrier and I think that sometimes it’s transport. Sometimes people don’t drive and they’ve got to get from A to B and they tend to think well if I’ve got to get taxis and try and get there, so if they haven’t got transport they would find it very difficult.’ Empty nester, Banbury

Health

Some older participants (50+) acknowledge that as people grow older they may not have the physical fitness or strength to get involved in volunteering activities. This concern can be connected to the perception that volunteers are people with lots of energy who often take on physically demanding roles such as coaching a children’s football team or helping very elderly people around the house/garden. Lack of information about volunteering and the breadth of activities available that people can get involved in regardless of physical ability makes this barrier harder to overcome.

Lack of motivation

Some people may lack the motivation to take the first step to becoming a volunteer. This can often be due to a lack of appreciation of the benefits that volunteering can have for them and for others in their community or society more generally. Compared with other things one could be doing, volunteering may not be seen as such an interesting, exciting or rewarding activity. This is particularly the case for pre-family participants.

Others may be unmotivated because of previous negative experiences of volunteering, such as being made to feel unwelcome or being taken advantage of in terms of workload, which can put people off volunteering in the future.

‘I think there’s a fine line between a volunteer, a friend and a mug.’ Empty nester, Banbury

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‘I am a greedy person, [unclear] personal, I am a greedy person and I personally wouldn’t like to do anything for nothing.’ Pre-family, Leeds

‘It’s easier not to get involved.’ Family life stage, Leeds

Lack of confidence

Volunteering is often perceived as something that is connected to a group or organisation of people, and, for some, joining a group where you don’t know anyone can be quite daunting. Others may lack confidence to volunteer because they doubt that they have the skills or abilities to make a valuable contribution.

‘I think there are a lot of shy people out there who would want to come out, you know, cross over the line and do something, but the shyness of that person might hold them back from actually volunteering to do something.’ Practising Hindu, Leeds

Family/community expectations and commitments

Practising Hindu participants stressed that there are certain expectations that come from within families and their community, which can make volunteering outside these units quite difficult. Within this community, looking after extended family must come first, and participants felt it would be difficult to justify taking on a voluntary role that might be perceived as taking time away from their duties towards the extended family.

5.3 Overcoming barriers to volunteering

Participants identified a number of solutions for overcoming the key barriers of time and fitting volunteering into family commitments, which would set them on the path to realising the benefits involved in volunteering. As well as individual efforts, many of these solutions require working in partnership with or the agreement of others, be it family members, community or employers.

Getting the message out

Information is thought to be key to overcoming several barriers to volunteering. People want more accessible information about:

> what activities are available and how to get involved

> what the value of those activities will be and how they will make a difference

> how their skills and interests match the volunteering activities available: specifically why they are needed rather than anyone else

> information in accessible formats such as Braille and different languages

Participants suggest that poster campaigns and widespread access to information through the internet, mobile phones and within the local community (eg in supermarkets) would help to get the message out about volunteering and could broaden people’s perceptions of what volunteering is and who can do it.

‘Raising awareness: not everyone is aware that people have problems or there are disadvantaged people around you or whatever.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

People think that messages about volunteering could be effectively communicated by respected public figures who are well known for their volunteering work or by members of the public who have first-hand experience of volunteering, who could also allay fears and help people feel confident in getting involved. However, figures of authority such as government ministers or charity chief executives should not be used to promote volunteering – these are seen as too distant and are harder for the public to relate to.

‘If you use a more prominent figure, you need a [community of] someone who’s popular on television – it would just be something that people respect and you know that people are going to listen and people are going to have time for them.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a
18 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering ‘If you see somebody doing it like a

‘If you see somebody doing it like a sports person or a pop star that is doing that kind of thing, it might sort of stimulate you to do it.’ Family life stage, Leeds

They also suggest a local volunteering bureau like a JobCentre that matches people’s skills and interests to volunteering activities in their local area. The importance of familiarising children with volunteering and the range of activities available to them is thought to be key to changing the image and perceived role of volunteering in society.

Making the time for volunteering

Lack of time is a major barrier to volunteering for many, yet participants do envisage a number of solutions that they feel would enable them to make time in their lives to volunteer, including:

> incorporating volunteering into the working day through agreements with companies that give employees the right to take time off for volunteering activities

> helping people to manage their time better and use free time more constructively; for example, instead of watching TV for four hours every evening, use this time to volunteer even if for only one night a week

> volunteering opportunities need to be flexible in terms of the commitment required from individuals; most participants would like the option of being involved on an ad hoc or regular basis depending on the amount of time they can commit to volunteering

‘We put we can do it evenings or weekends and maybe a couple of hours, not too scheduled, maybe so many hours per month you could give to it and do it in holiday times.’ Empty nester, Leeds

‘Making me aware of something that I could do just as a very small slot of my hectic life.’ Empty nester, Banbury

Fitting in volunteering around family life

People may be less inclined to volunteer because they would rather spend any spare time with their family. These are usually older participants (50+), many of whom have grandchildren, and people with children who work full time who would like to see more of their families. Finding volunteering opportunities in which the whole family can get involved and have fun together is perceived as one way of getting over this barrier.

‘You can take the family and friends and you can do a bigger bit, couldn’t you.’ Family life stage, Banbury

Hindu and Muslim participants suggested that volunteering that does not relate to family expectations can be enabled only if the extended family is convinced of the benefits of volunteering. Muslim participants believe that stressing the benefits that volunteering can bring to the whole community and encouraging other family members to get involved could help volunteering fit into their lives.

Making volunteering personal

People respond much better to appeals for skills they possess or for causes that are relevant to them personally. If the message to volunteer is not personalised, people can feel that others will take up the challenge and that they do not have anything distinctive to contribute. A personal call to volunteer can cut through the other demands on people’s time and encourage them to make time for volunteering.

‘It is just basically saying to people, “Could you do this?” and giving them different examples of helping people and every little bit helps is just basically the case.’ Practising Muslim, Leeds

‘I got involved with this child charity; we do the football tournament now every year. Not because it was a child's charity, it was because somebody asked me to get involved, it was a friend and it was a social as well.’ Family life stage, Leeds

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

19

Making volunteering feel fun and accessible

At present, non-volunteers tend to see volunteering as a heavy commitment that is based on the desire to ‘do good’. However, this is not a strong enough motive for many to get involved, and this image of volunteering is intimidating for people who lack confidence.

People feel that volunteering needs to combine benefits to the individuals with tangible value to others in a way that feels fun and appealing. Key to this will be:

> providing evidence of the value provided by each volunteering opportunity

> emphasising the benefit of volunteering to the individual

‘Perhaps give on a trial basis, you know, come and try and see and you do not have to be committed at first. Do not ever feel guilty or pressured into doing it. Come and try and see if it works into your life, see if a Tuesday night is not any good you know, perhaps you could fit it in.’ Family life stage, Leeds

Making sure everyone can get involved

Volunteering can feel inaccessible to some people. To make volunteering accessible it is essential to ensure that volunteering facilities can be easily accessed, are conveniently located, accessible for disabled people and with information/signage in appropriate community languages. It is also important to ensure that there is a range of opportunities available to people with differing skills sets and abilities so that everyone can make a contribution.

People also suggest that establishing mechanisms which give the flexibility for people to choose where, when and how they volunteer will overcome some of the barriers to volunteering. This will make it easy for people to fit volunteering into their lives, and will allow them to choose which activities and what level of commitment are appropriate for them at a particular time.

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,
20 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering 6 The ideal future of volunteering During discussions,

6 The ideal future of volunteering

During discussions, participants were asked to look into the future and imagine a scenario whereby everyone volunteers, as a normal part of everyday life. Participants’ descriptions of volunteering in the future give some insight into the conditions that they believe would enable everyone to fit volunteering into their lives. A number of common themes emerged during this exercise and below is a summary of what participants imagine the ideal volunteering experience to be like.

> Volunteering is a completely normal part of life and everyone takes part in some kind of volunteering activity. Because it is the norm, there are no negative associations with volunteering and people are happy to do it.

‘It was like the norm, companies had their employees do it as part of their every day.’ Family life stage, Leeds

> So that this level of volunteering can continue into the future, children get involved in volunteering at a young age, through school and with their families.

‘Maybe it could be organised in school, start off young, kind of educating people you know, youngsters, teenagers, making it part of school life.’ Family life stage, Leeds

> To enable everyone to volunteer, information about people’s skills and interests is held by a central data bank. People can visit local volunteering centres (often likened to JobCentres or Citizens Advice), which match their interests, skills and the time they have available to volunteering opportunities.

‘I imagined walking into a shop as opposed to the Citizens Advice Bureau; it would be like the volunteers advice bureau, so you could get advice on what you could do.’ Family life stage, Banbury

> Volunteering is well advertised and information about volunteering is readily available to all and enabled by technology; for example, the internet, mobile phones and huge advertising screens in public places.

‘You went on the internet in the evening and everything will come up in your area, things to do under various headings of things that you might fancy.’ Family life stage, Leeds

‘You would get most of the information from huge great screens on the side of buildings.’ Family life stage, Banbury

> Whilst some people suggested volunteering should be enforced by government, others thought that it should be encouraged by social structures and norms, and there should be choice and flexibility about when, where and how people can get involved, which enables everyone to volunteer to some degree at any one time.

‘Final choice is the people’s choice, their choice is final, but it is educating them, it is letting them know it is available.’ Practising Hindu, Leeds

> The advocates of volunteering would not just be the organisations who benefit from volunteers but also individuals, groups and corporations who are able to facilitate, encourage and prompt people. For example, notices in the supermarket suggesting that you think about shopping for those who are not able to get out to the shops.

> This level of volunteering engenders a more caring, selfless society where people are peaceful and happy, and where there is less anti-social behaviour because people have respect for and help each other.

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21

7 Conclusions and recommendations

The findings from this research have implications for the ways in which volunteering is communicated to people, the kinds of volunteering opportunities that are offered and the ways in which society can foster volunteering.

The ways that volunteering is communicated

In order to increase the appeal and take-up of volunteering, people need help to understand the broadest sense of volunteering and to move it on from stereotypical perceptions they may have.

People need to understand the value of volunteering and why they personally should volunteer. This entails demonstrating the difference their involvement will make and explaining why they personally are the best people to do that particular activity.

As well as providing universal messages about the difference that volunteering can make, there are specific messages that would be effective with specific audiences:

> Pre-family: people who are young and single often see volunteering as unappealing and possibly boring. There are two messages that would be effective with this audience:

- emphasising the fun, excitement, sociable and personally rewarding aspects of volunteering and

- presenting volunteering as an opportunity to learn skills and gain work experience to put on their CV

> Family life stage: people who have children at home can feel burdened with commitments and that they do not have enough time to volunteer. It may be effective to focus communications with this group on:

- explaining that volunteering can be an escape from the demands of the family

- pointing people towards opportunities that allow them to spend time with their family (such as coaching their child’s sports team)

> Empty nesters: empty nesters can feel that they do not have the time or energy to volunteer. It may be helpful to emphasise:

- that volunteering does not necessarily involve energetic or physical work

- that volunteering can allow them to develop an existing interest

- the skills development potential of volunteering

> Practising Hindus and Muslims: can be reluctant to engage in activities that take time away from their family and community obligations, however many of those obligations could be considered to be volunteering. To enable people to engage in volunteering activities outside their community it would be helpful to:

- communicate the benefits of volunteering to the whole community, not just individuals, to ensure that individuals feel their activities will be valued in their community

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22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to
22 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering > Disabled people: can be very keen to

> Disabled people: can be very keen to volunteer but find that opportunities are not open to them. Communications should emphasise:

- volunteering opportunities that will be accessible

- volunteering opportunities that are outside disability organisations

- the potential of volunteering to provide skills, and the mutual nature of the benefits of volunteering

Tailoring volunteering opportunities to people’s lives and needs

Volunteering organisations also need to offer volunteering opportunities that fit in with people’s lives; in particular:

> offering flexible volunteering opportunities that allow people to vary the commitment and regularity of their volunteering activity

> providing opportunities to volunteer that include the whole family

> matching volunteers’ skills and interests to volunteering opportunities so that they feel they are making the best of their time

> ensuring that activities are accessible to all, including disabled people and those who are not fluent in English

Fostering volunteering in society

Participants in the research felt that for volunteering to become ubiquitous it needs to be encouraged by the social structures that are in place; this includes:

> allowing people time off work to engage in volunteering activities

> introducing children to volunteering to ensure that the habit of volunteering becomes ingrained

> an organisation, like the JobCentre, to match people to volunteering opportunities, which has offices on every high street

> organisations, groups and individuals who do not personally benefit from volunteering encouraging and facilitating volunteering (eg supermarkets, celebrities and social networks)

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8 Appendices

Engaging people in volunteering

Recruitment questionnaire

Good morning/afternoon. I am recruiting people to take part in a discussion on volunteering and helping out in your community, and we would like you to take part.

You don’t need any specialist knowledge or involvement with volunteering yourself – we are just keen to hear about your views and experiences. [Recruiter – if asked, explain that the discussion is on behalf of Volunteering England.]

The discussion will last two hours and will take place nearby in [group discussion address]. You will receive £45 as a thank you for taking part, and everything said during the workshop is treated confidentially.

If you are interested, I just need to ask you a few questions first.

Q1

Have you or any member of your family or close friends had paid employment in any of the following?

Advertising

Market research

Marketing

Public relations/media

Journalism

Charity/voluntary organisations

IF YES TO ANY OF THE ABOVE – CLOSE

Q2

Have you attended a market research group discussion in the past 12 months?

YES

CLOSE

NO

Continue

Q3

Do you do any of the following activities at present?

TICK HERE

Volunteering eg serving on the board of a charity, fundraising for charities and other charitable activities, organised volunteering

Helping out neighbours or other local people eg doing their shopping for them, helping with gardening or other domestic tasks, keeping them company

Helping out with church or other religious groups eg fundraising, organising community events

Getting involved with (your) children’s organised activities eg helping to run local Brownie/Scout groups, helping with football/cricket/rugby training, organising teas and minibuses

GROUPS1–4: RECRUIT 3 PEOPLE WHO TICK AT LEAST ONE OF ANY OF THE ABOVE AND RECRUIT 5 PEOPLE WHO DO NOT TICK ANY OF THE ABOVE GROUPS 5&6: RECRUIT AT LEAST 3 PEOPLE WHO TICK AT LEAST ONE OF ANY OF THE ABOVE GROUPS 7&8: RECRUIT 1 PERSON WHO TICKS AT LEAST ONE OF ANY OF THE ABOVE RECRUIT 3 PEOPLE WHO DO NOT TICK ANY OF THE ABOVE

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT
24 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q4 Record gender: MALE FEMALE GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT

Q4

Record gender:

MALE

FEMALE

GROUPS 1–6: RECRUIT 4 MEN AND 4 WOMEN GROUPS 7–8: RECRUIT 2 MEN AND 2 WOMEN

Q5

Which of the following age brackets do you fall into? TICK HERE

Under 18

CLOSE

18–29

30–49

50–70

70+

CLOSE

GROUP 1: ALL AGED 18–29 OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD OF AGES GROUP 2: ALL AGED 30–49 OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD OF AGES GROUP 3: ALL AGED 50–70 OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD OF AGES GROUP 4: ALL AGED 30–49 OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD OF AGES GROUP 5: OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD OF AGES GROUP 6: OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD OF AGES GROUP 7: OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD OF AGES GROUP 8: OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD OF AGES

Q6

Which of the following best describes your situation?

 

TICK HERE

 

I don’t have any children

I have children living at home with me

have children but they don’t live with me, they live with another parent or carer

I

I

have children but they have left home

GROUP 1: ALL TO NOT HAVE ANY CHILDREN GROUP 2: AT LEAST 6 TO HAVE CHILDREN LIVING AT HOME WITH THEM NOT MORE THAN 2 TO HAVE CHILDREN WHO LIVE WITH ANOTHER PARENT/CARER GROUP 3: ALL TO HAVE CHILDREN WHO HAVE LEFT HOME GROUP 4: AT LEAST 6 TO HAVE CHILDREN LIVING AT HOME WITH THEM NOT MORE THAN 2 TO HAVE CHILDREN WHO LIVE WITH ANOTHER PARENT/CARER GROUP 5: OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD WHERE POSSIBLE GROUP 6: OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD WHERE POSSIBLE GROUP 7: OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD WHERE POSSIBLE GROUP 8: OBTAIN A GOOD SPREAD WHERE POSSIBLE

Q7a

What is your occupation, and is that full- or part-time employment?

OCCUPATION OF RESPONDENT

WRITE IN

FULL TIME (30+ hours)

PART TIME (18–29 hours)

NOT WORKING/UNEMPLOYED

FULL-TIME CHILD CARER

RETIRED

FULL-TIME EDUCATION

PART-TIME EDUCATION

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Q7b

What is the occupation of the chief income earner, and is that full- or part-time employment?

OCCUPATION OF RESPONDENT

WRITE IN

FULL TIME (30+ hours)

CONTINUE TO ‘RECORD SOCIAL CLASS’

PART TIME (18–29 hours)

CONTINUE TO ‘RECORD SOCIAL CLASS’

NOT WORKING

CONTINUE TO ‘RECORD SOCIAL CLASS’

RETIRED

CONTINUE TO ‘RECORD SOCIAL CLASS’

FULL-TIME EDUCATION

CONTINUE TO ‘RECORD SOCIAL CLASS’

PART-TIME EDUCATION

CONTINUE TO ‘RECORD SOCIAL CLASS’

Record social class

A

B

C1

C2

D

E

Recruit

GROUP 1: 8 x C2D GROUP 2: 8 x ABC1 GROUP 3: 8 x ABC1 GROUP 4: 8 x C2D

GROUP 5: RECORD AND CONTINUE – TRY TO ACHIEVE A SPREAD IF

POSSIBLE

GROUP 6: RECORD AND CONTINUE – TRY TO ACHIEVE A SPREAD IF

POSSIBLE

GROUP 7: RECORD AND CONTINUE – TRY TO ACHIEVE A SPREAD IF

POSSIBLE

GROUP 8: RECORD AND CONTINUE – TRY TO ACHIEVE A SPREAD IF

POSSIBLE

Q8

Which of these best describes your ethnic origin?

White British

Indian

White Irish

Pakistani

Any other White background

Bangladeshi

Mixed: White and Black Caribbean

Any other Asian background

Mixed: White and Black African

Caribbean

Mixed: White and Asian

African

Any other mixed background

Any other Black background

Chinese

Any other (please write in below)

GROUPS 1–4: RECRUIT 2 BLACK AND ETHNIC MINORITY PER GROUP GO TO Q10 GROUPS 5 & 6: RECRUIT 8 ASIAN PARTICIPANTS GO TO Q9 GROUPS 7 & 8: NO QUOTA GO TO Q10

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26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do
26 Understanding how to engage people in volunteering Q9a ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do

Q9a

ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5 &6: Do you practice any of the following religions?

Islam

Go to Q9b

Hinduism

Go to Q9b

Christianity

CLOSE

Sikhism

CLOSE

Buddhism

CLOSE

Other religion

CLOSE

No religion

CLOSE

GROUP 5: ALL TO PRACTISE ISLAM GROUP 6: ALL TO PRACTISE HINDUISM

Q9b

ASK ONLY FOR GROUPS 5&6: Do you consider yourself to be actively involved in your religious and/or cultural community?

For example, do you attend religious ceremonies and/or observe religious and cultural festivals with your community and/or keep cultural traditions that are important to that community?

YES

NO

CLOSE

GROUPS 5 & 6: ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THEIR RELIGIOUS OR CULTURAL COMMUNITY

Q10a

Do you have a disability?

YES

NO

GROUPS 1–6: DO NOT EXCLUDE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. GO TO Q 11 GROUPS 7–8: ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST HAVE A DISABILITY. GO TO Q 10b

Q10b

ASK GROUPS 7&8 ONLY: What kind of disability do you have?

TICK HERE

Mobility impairment

Vision impairment

Hearing impairment

Long-term illness

Learning disability

Other (record)

GROUPS 7&8: TRY TO OBTAIN A RANGE OF DISABILITIES

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27

Q12

Do you have any special requirements (eg because of a disability)?

YES

NO

[Do not exclude people with special requirements; please record special requirement and inform Opinion Leader.]

Requirement

Q13

Finally, I just need your name, address and telephone number.

FULL NAME:

ADDRESS (include postcode):

DAYTIME TEL NO:

EVENING TEL NO:

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Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

Volunteering England – Engaging people in volunteering discussion guide

TIMING

TASK

10

minutes

Introduction

 

> Introduce OLR and background/aims of the project.

> Reassure about confidentiality.

> Emphasise that there are no right or wrong answers and that people have been recruited to have a range of opinions. We are not here to judge each other, but to listen to each other’s points of view.

> Participant introductions.

15

minutes

Exploring people’s leisure activities and lifestyles

 

> Moderator asks participants to look at the lifestyle diaries they kept before coming to the group discussion.

> As a group, brainstorm all the activities that people have done recently outside work.

> For each activity, explore

> Do they do it regularly or was it a one-off/less frequent activity (if so, why?)

> Why they do it – is it because they want to or they feel they have to?

> What do they get out of it – do they enjoy it? Get a sense of achievement? See it as a chore?

> Are there any things they feel are currently missing from their lives that they would like to do more of?

> Why don’t they currently do those things?

20

minutes

Attitudes to volunteering Brainstorm (10 minutes)

> Brainstorm what ‘volunteering’ means to the participants.

> Probe whether they have an image of a type of person who would volunteer.

> Would it be people like them? Why/why not?

> Probe whether they associate volunteering with any specific types of activities.

> Take a vote of hands: who thinks they volunteer at present? Who thinks they do not?

Scenario exercise (10 minutes)

> Moderator hands out SCENARIOS (each scenario features a person and a type of activity eg helping train the youth football club, running a stall at a church fete, helping an elderly neighbour with their garden/shopping, etc) and READS THEM OUT (making sure everyone has understood them).

> Participants work in pairs to discuss the scenarios – which of the following would be volunteering? Why/why not?

> As a group, discuss the scenarios – which are volunteering and which are not? If they are not volunteering, what are they?

> Moderator explains, at the end of the discussion, that Volunteering England would see all these activities as volunteering and that these activities, as well as more ‘traditional’ volunteering activities, will be what we will be thinking about today.

> Take a vote of hands again: who now thinks they volunteer at present? Who still thinks they do not?

> The second vote of hands will measure whether more people now think they volunteer.

Reason

> Set up a non-judgemental atmosphere that allows both volunteers and non-volunteers to feel comfortable expressing their opinions.

> Understanding how people spend their free time and what they get out of the activities they do – ie understand the benefits and motives behind people’s leisure activities/non- work-related activities.

> This information will help us, later, to understand what role volunteering can play in people’s free time and what benefits it can provide from the pool of benefits people currently get from leisure activities.

> Benchmarking current perceptions of volunteering.

> Understanding how close they personally feel to volunteering.

> Benchmarking perceptions of whether they volunteer using their own definition of volunteering.

> Scenarios will help people to imagine a more diverse set of activities that could be volunteering.

> We will first understand where people draw the line about what is and what is not volunteering and then help them to understand that all of the scenarios could be volunteering – this will widen the debate for the next exercises.

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

29

TIMING

TASK

20

minutes

Barriers/triggers to volunteering Brainstorm (5 minutes)

 

> As a group, brainstorm what might make them interested in volunteering.

> And brainstorm what might stop them from volunteering.

Walk into the future (15 minutes)

> Moderator asks two participants who don’t currently volunteer to stand up, and designates a start point for them to stand at – this is how they feel now about volunteering – and an end point at the other end of the room – this is a future time when they have to imagine they are volunteering.

> First the moderator explores with the participants what is preventing them from taking that first step towards volunteering – the first barrier; they have to imagine that it is a physical barrier stopping them from volunteering.

> And what might help them overcome that barrier (the rest of the group is encouraged to provide suggestions); once they feel they have come up with a good suggestion that could help them overcome the barrier, they take a step forward.

> This process is repeated until participants get to the end of the journey (and the room) and are volunteering.

> Moderator explores – how do you feel now you are volunteering? Looking back on the journey, what were the hardest parts?

> The group is encouraged to comment on the journey – what are the really big barriers, and what were the best suggestions for overcoming them?

25

minutes

How can volunteering fit into your life? Lifestyle diaries revisited (5 minutes)

> Participants are asked to look back over their leisure diaries and think about what they said about what they get from each leisure activity, and what they would like do more of.

> Moderator probes on each benefit/reason for doing the activity participants identified from their leisure activities and asks whether or not volunteering could provide that benefit.

Poster exercise (20 minutes)

> Participants split into pairs and choose one benefit of

volunteering that they have identified, which they think is particularly motivating to people like them.

> Each pair designs a poster that gets this benefit across to people like them, expressing:

> what they will get out of volunteering

> how it can fit into their lives

> who the message would come from (organisations/

individuals) – be creative and think outside usual suspects (church, big charities, etc).

> When they have finished, each pair presents their ideas back to the room.

Reason

> It will be important to ‘dump’ the barriers to volunteering at this point in the discussion so that we can start to work through how to overcome them.

> This is our first future visioning exercise and it is designed to take individuals through a hypothetical journey to volunteering – understanding what the barriers are on the way and exploring as a group how to move beyond those barriers/get over them.

> This exercise will help people develop some of the ideas from the previous exercise about how to get over some of the barriers to volunteering, focusing them on how volunteering can fit into people’s lives.

> We will use the exercise on the motives and benefits for leisure activities as a start point to understand what the motivating benefits of volunteering could be that would help it slot into people’s free time.

> The poster exercise will help people to express these ideas creatively and bring them to life and will reveal what they think the really key messages will be.

30

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

TIMING

TASK

25 minutes

Future visioning exercise Moderator explains: During this exercise I’ll ask you to really start imagining what the future might be like. In a moment I’m going to ask you to close your eyes and I’ll guide you through a visualisation that will take you forward into the future. We’ll start off with some relaxation. Then I’ll ask you to skip forward into the future and I’ll ask you to imagine a future where everyone volunteers and to observe what is happening. I’ll ask you about what you can see and hear, and what is happening. It is important during this exercise to remember not to be restrained by what you think is possible or probable for the future but the absolute IDEAL and DESIRABLE future. Do not think about the present or the past but start from the future.

Moderator reads out the following:

I want you to close your eyes and relax (or keep eyes open and

look down if not comfortable closing them). Find a position in your chair that is most comfortable, feet flat on the floor. Just spend a minute or two concentrating on your breathing – take a few deep breaths deep down. Relax all your muscles – starting from your feet, up your legs, torso, arms, shoulders, back and neck. [Pause] Now imagine you are going forward on a train into the future. You have speeded through 2008, 9, 10, 11, etc, and it is now the year 2016. Much has happened over the last ten years – the UK has now had a man on the moon, the Olympics in London has been and gone, technology has really advanced so that everyone has mobile phones, cameras, computers, ipods all in one. Imagine that this is a world where everyone in England takes part in

volunteering and it is just an accepted part of everyday life. [Pause]

I want you to go to the point of when people find out about

volunteering. Who tells people about volunteering? What information and support are they offered at this stage? Who by? [Pause] Now I want to focus on the volunteering itself. I want you to think about where people can go to volunteer. When do they do it? Who do they volunteer with – alone, with friends, with family, neighbours or people they don’t know? What kinds of organisations do they volunteer with? [Pause] Finally, I want you to think about what people get out of volunteering – why is everyone doing it? What role does it play in their lives? How has it changed their lives? [Pause] Now I want you to get back on the train and come back through 2015, 14, 13, 12, 11, etc, back to the here and now. Take a few minutes to think about everything you’ve considered. When you are ready, open your eyes. I’d like you to write down, or draw if you prefer, any images or thoughts/ideas you had. A ‘stream of consciousness’ of what you pictured

As a group discuss the future of volunteering:

Reason

> The second future visioning exercise asks people to think about how people in general can be encouraged to volunteer and what the ideal conditions for volunteering would be.

> We will explore the issue of volunteering in the round, including information, organisations and type of volunteering opportunity.

> The exercise will finish with participants developing principles for how to encourage people to volunteer.

> What is their vision of the future of volunteering like?

> Explore in detail how people find out about volunteering, how it fits into their lives, who they volunteer with, what they get out of it, etc.

> As a group, develop some principles for encouraging volunteering.

Understanding how to engage people in volunteering

31

TIMING

TASK

5 minutes

Final comments

> If you had one piece of advice for Volunteering England on how to get people like you interested in volunteering, what would it be?

> Thank and close.

Reason

> This section is an attempt to encapsulate what people have seen, heard and said and to distil it into the most important elements.

is an attempt to encapsulate what people have seen, heard and said and to distil it
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering was established by the England Volunteering Development Council

The Commission on the Future of Volunteering was established by the England Volunteering Development Council in order to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England.

to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England. © The Commission on the Future of
to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England. © The Commission on the Future of
to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England. © The Commission on the Future of
to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England. © The Commission on the Future of
to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England. © The Commission on the Future of
to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England. © The Commission on the Future of
to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England. © The Commission on the Future of
to develop a long-term vision for volunteering in England. © The Commission on the Future of

© The Commission on the Future of Volunteering, 2008

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