Time Well Spent

Year of publication

Time Well Spent is a major new report into the volunteering experience published by NCVO in January 2019. It is the result of a large national survey carried out through YouGov's panel (10,000+ respondents).

The survey focuses on volunteering through groups, clubs and organisations and includes data on recent volunteers, but also lapsed volunteers and non-volunteers.

The aims of the survey were to:

  • gain a rounder view of the different ways people get involved
  • look at how volunteering fits into people’s lives and the impact it has on them
  • understand people’s experiences across the volunteer journey
  • consider what a quality volunteer experience looks like
  • explore how to better engage potential volunteers.

The researchers identified 8 key factors that we think make up a quality experience, which they hope will be a starting point for practitioners and policymakers thinking about how they can support volunteers.

A (mostly) good news story. The vast majority (96%) of volunteers who had given time over the last 12 months said they are very or fairly satisfied with their main volunteering experience.

Most volunteers enjoy the experience and feel well supported and that they are recognised enough for their volunteering. Seven in 10 volunteers say they have or would recommend volunteering to friends or family.

Over two-thirds (68%) said that their volunteering helps them feel less isolated.

Different volunteer journeys mean volunteer-involving organisations have a variety of expectations to meet shaped by a range of factors. For example, around a quarter (23%) of 18 to 34 year-olds said that ‘they expected the process of getting involved to be quicker’; compared with just 9% of those aged 55 and over.

Overcoming Barriers. When it comes to time, we need to think about what it really means when people cite ‘doing other things with my spare time’ as their main reason for not getting involved. It highlights the importance of providing opportunities that resonate with people’s lives and make their volunteering feel worth their while.

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