When it comes to the numbers volunteering, there are some grounds for optimism, but charities, sports organisations and others need to adapt. It’s encouraging that a report from a leading UK think tank covering the voluntary sector reports that 26% of the UK’s adults plan to volunteer in 2023, up from 15% in 2022. Anecdotal evidence suggests something similar in Guernsey.
This is welcome news for voluntary organisations after the experiences of the last few years. Whilst Covid motivated a large number of ‘occasional’ volunteers with large lists established locally of interested people; core, long term, volunteers who are the bedrock of many vital services provided by charities (youth services, social services, environment, animal welfare) reduced considerably. Many were shielding, their personal circumstances changed to support family members or lifestyles evolved as life began to return to normal, with a pent up demand to travel etc.
The good news of increased intentions for 2023 presents challenges for charities however. Many of the extra 11% are younger members of the community and their attitudes, ways of volunteering and availability are very different. Charities, especially volunteer co-ordinators within them will need to adapt how they recruit, train and support those wishing to volunteer as well as consider other models of volunteering.
Pictured: Wayne is one of many volunteers helping to put on this year's Island Games.
The NatWest International Island Games, whilst requiring a large number of volunteers in the planning stages and during the Games themselves, is working to ensure its legacy includes sharing best practices in the recruitment, induction, training, support and leadership of its volunteer workforce. In this way, those inspired to volunteer for the first time or after a long break are more likely to be interested in continuing to volunteer in a variety of roles.
At the Association of Guernsey Charities, the changes in the support offered, following the appointment of two staff, prioritises the provision of practical support to voluntary organisations so they may capitalise on these opportunities and more as the demand for their services rises along with an interest from new groups of volunteers.
Technology plays a key role also, Guernsey 2023 for example are using a web based app to assist in the recruitment, support and management of its 1200 volunteers. Whilst usage was slow initially, 93% of its volunteers that attended the first training sessions used the app to update their profiles, access information and register attendance. Local apps are separately being developed, especially to assist corporate social responsibility and group volunteering etc..
Pictured: Joni Nettleship is there to help charities in her new role.
If you are registered as a charity in the Bailiwick but not yet a member of the Association of Guernsey Charities, please do visit www.charity.org.gg and consider becoming a member so that they may know your views and needs and support you in doing what motivates you most, helping your beneficiaries. Alternatively, email joni@email@example.com
Chair of the Association of Guernsey Charities