information for transformational people

Stats 246Charity resilience and volunteering trends

From articles by Action Planning and NfpResearch

After the rigours of Covid, lockdowns and social isolation, organisations face the challenges of adapting to the ‘new normal’.

In March 2022, Action Planning, a charity strategy and fundraising consultancy, with planning for this new normal in mind, asked charity leaders about their biggest challenges, in the context of all that has gone before. These were the results:

  • Organisational resilience 74%
  • Managing a hybrid workforce 13%
  • Re-evaluating relevance 13%
  • Governance in a digital realm 0%

On the subject of organisational resilience, Action Planning consultant Andrew Middleton, has developed a set of change-oriented behaviours to ensure that charities he works with are not blindsided by future events. He shares these here as a useful set of behaviours that you may wish to adopt to help you consider what might be coming for your organisation:

Future scope – what is on the horizon?

  • Keep an eye on key trends, news, and developments.
  • Look to understand what they mean for your organisation.
  • Find ways to embrace or mitigate the impacts.

Develop skills, capabilities, and experience.

  • Regularly review the capabilities of your organisation.
  • Plan in time to ensure that they are fit for future scenarios.
  • Invest in improving skillsets for relevant future skill needs.

Involvement in emerging/new tech

  • Watch emerging tech developments.
  • Prototype new technologies to ascertain their usefulness.
  • Build suitable technologies into plans

At the same time, NfpResearch published their latest study on volunteering. 

For the last 10 years and more NfpResearch have been asking the general public whether they have volunteered in the last 3 months. They do this four times a year. This gives some really useful long-term data about how many, and who, are volunteering.

Covid has had a major impact on volunteering, and in the last 24 months, they have seen the lowest percentage saying they volunteered (16%) and also the highest (31%). However, it is the demographics of who is saying they are volunteering that has produced the most interesting results. Here are the four key changes that they have seen in the most recent data.

The headline volunteering rate hasn’t changed much – it hovers around 20%. It dipped at the height of the first lockdown, and the very latest data suggests it may have bounced back dramatically in September 2021, and fallen again by December 2021.

Behind the headlines there are some dramatic changes in volunteering by age. Volunteering amongst older people (over 55s) has fallen, and under 45s has increased. This is part of a trend that has been going on for a decade, which Covid has really exacerbated.

Volunteering amongst women has been falling for some time, and in the last 18 months more men are saying they volunteer than women. If this change is permanent, it will indicate a real revolution in who volunteers.

While they don’t measure informal volunteering (what is most simply called neighbourliness), Government data indicates that, while formal volunteering decreased up to March 2021, informal volunteering increased substantially. Equally interesting is the finding that women increased their level of informal volunteering more than men.

The pandemic appears to have shaken up who volunteers and how they volunteer. For the most part it seems that Covid has hastened changes that were already underway, rather than reversing them. Are these changes permanent or just temporary?

See the study here.

Hope these inform future planning.

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From an article by Action Planning, 10/05/2022

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