Helpline Research 2017 - 2019

Annika Howard
Helplines Partnership - Helplines Research 2017-19

Since 2017, Helplines Partnership have carried out an Annual Member Survey. It is an opportunity for our members to tell us what is happening on the frontline, contribute to creating a picture of the helpline sector and capture how it is changing and evolving.

This year, we worked with the Royal Statistical Society, through their pro-bono Statisticians for Society initiative to compare three years Annual Survey data and reflect on how the sector is changing.

We launched the research summary at this year's Annual Conference, producing a short visual, two page, summary from the data, covering topics including: helpline call volumes, helpline call lengths, helpline funding and helpline budgets.

Snapshot of the helpline sector

Helpline Funding​

  • Internal funding for helplines has dropped since 2017​
  • Local authority funding has dropped by one percentage point each year since 2017​
  • In 2019 three most common sources of helpline funding are: Fundraising, donations and grants​

Helpline opening hours​

  • Decline in the number of hours helplines are open since 2017​
  • Majority of helplines, 70%, open 6-8 hours a day

Helpline call length

  • Percentage of calls between 20 –30 minutes has increased year on year since 2017​

Helpline call volumes

  • In 2019, half of the organisations received fewer than 5,000 calls a year and another 1 in 4 received between 5,000 and 20,000 calls ​
  • In 2018, just under half of the organisations received fewer than 5,000 calls a year, and a similar proportion received between 5,000 and 20,000 calls​
  • In 2017, half of the organisations received fewer than 5,000 calls a year, and another 1 in 7 received between 5,000 and 20,000 calls

Helpline teams

  • Paid staff working on helplines increased in 2019 compared to volunteers only and mixed teams which have decreased


Download a copy of the helpline research summary

You can download a PDF copy of the research summary, the full research report will shortly be available for Helplines Partnership members from the member section of the website.

Helplines Partnership Annual Survey Research Summary 2017 - 2019


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