The benefits of volunteering

Lonely

New research has shown that volunteering has a hugely positive impact on the lives of those who volunteer in the charity sector, but their efforts are not always supported by employers.

According to the research, the majority of volunteers reported having improved life satisfaction (70%) and self-esteem (66%) since beginning volunteer work, as well as having reduced feelings of loneliness (42%) and stress (33%).

Nearly two thirds (65%) also said that since beginning volunteer work they have developed useful employability skills; with 59% saying they feel more confident and 54% feeling more motivated in their jobs.

Despite the correlation between volunteering, improved workplace performance, and employee wellbeing; the survey also raised concerns.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) said they found it difficult to balance volunteering and work commitments, and nearly one-third (32%) of full-time workers said they aren’t comfortable asking their employer for more flexibility to support their volunteering activity.

UK Chief Commissioner Tim Kidd said, ‘I’m acutely aware of the importance of the millions of volunteers in the UK who give up their time every single day to help others. With the majority of volunteers saying they feel more motivated, confident and more skilled as a result of the work they do with us, it’s not just those they’re helping who benefit.

‘However, the fact that a third of full-time workers are not comfortable asking for more flexibility and understanding from their employer to enable them to volunteer, is concerning and shows that we need a national conversation on the ways businesses, big and small, can better develop policies that support flexible working practices for those who volunteer outside of work. With known benefits to workers productivity, confidence and the extra skills they are gaining – being more flexible clearly benefits employers as well as their staff.’

Despite these challenges, we now have more adult volunteers in Scouting than ever before. Our annual census results show the number of adults volunteering at Scouts has grown by 9,371 over the last year. We have also welcomed another 10,699 youth members. These increases mean we now have 638,827 members in the UK. We have grown for the 13th year in a row; the longest period of sustained growth we has experienced since the 1930’s.

Steve Reed, Shadow Minister (Civil Society) said, ‘A huge congratulations to the community heroes who deliver Scouting locally, week in, week out. Thirteen years of growth in Scouting is a massive achievement. Employers should do all they can to support their staff to volunteer with such fantastic organisations like Scouting. Not only does it benefit the communities they are based in, it leads to healthier, more motivated workforce.’

Chief Scout Bear Grylls has also expressed his thanks to all of our volunteers, ‘I am so proud that the Scouts continues to see so many young people and adult volunteers signing up to not only have fun and experience adventures but also to learn skills for life.’ 

Thank you for your dedication to our movement. We would not be where we are today without your hard work and commitment to equipping young people with skills for life.

Source: Scouts.org.uk