The value of volunteers

Annika Howard

It’s difficult to underestimate the value and worth of volunteers to the success and sustainability of the helpline sector. We surveyed our members and of those who responded found that 17% had helpline services supported entirely by volunteers and 30% of member helplines were supported by a mixture of volunteers and paid staff.

People choose to volunteer for a whole variety of reasons, to give something back, support a cause close to their heart, to meet new people, develop new skills or simply because it makes them feel good. Whatever the motivation behind making the choice to volunteer all volunteers have one thing in common they are giving up a very valuable resource, their time.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2017 show that volunteers gave 7% less of their time between 2012 and 2015 which means that recruiting and retaining volunteers could become more of a challenge. To keep, retain and motivate volunteers it’s essential that organisations invest time and resources in training and supporting volunteers.

The induction and training process, time invested by managers and other members of staff to support and manage volunteers and volunteering all comes at a cost to the organisation.

The cost is far outweighed by the value of the support the volunteers provide but it’s important to recognise the investment by the organisation in its volunteers.

Volunteers need to feel valued, recognised and part of the organisation. This is true for any organisation working with volunteers but particularly so for those charities and organisations that rely on volunteers to support their day to day activities.

If you want to know more about how to recruit, train and retain volunteers by making sure that you both get the best out of your relationship, book on to our 'Working with volunteers' masterclass.

Visit our training course pages for dates and to book a place.

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