Monday, 26 February 2024
Monday, 26 February 2024

Volunteers Day: Research reveals volunteers twice as likely to feel excluded

As the nation celebrates Volunteers Day as part of this week’s UK Charity Week, new research released recently by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has revealed volunteers from the global majority feel less satisfied, more excluded and less likely to continue volunteering than volunteers overall. The results come from the latest edition of NCVO’s Time Well Spent research series, which seeks to better understand, and help inform improvements to, people’s experience of volunteering. 

Over the past five years, NCVO’s Time Well Spent research has provided valuable insights that have helped organisations create quality volunteering opportunities. In 2023, NCVO’s Time Well Spent research discovered that volunteer satisfaction had dropped since 2019, and the original research also uncovered an evidence gap when it came to ethnicity. As a result, NCVO undertook this latest research, ‘Time Well Spent: Volunteering among the global majority’, which has been part funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and focuses on understanding the experiences and perspectives of people from the global majority.

Key research highlights 

  • Lower satisfaction: While the satisfaction of global majority volunteers remains high (86%), the research reveals it is lower than volunteers overall (92%).
  • Feeling excluded: Global majority volunteers are twice as likely to feel excluded compared to volunteers overall (12% vs 6%) and are less likely to feel a sense of belonging to the organisation (77% vs 84%).
  • Less likely to continue volunteering: Just over two-thirds (69%) of global majority volunteers say they are likely to continue volunteering in the next 12 months, compared with 77% of volunteers overall.
  • Higher levels of interest: The findings indicate people from the global majority are more interested in volunteering than the overall population. One in five (20%) global majority non-volunteers have looked into opportunities in the last year, compared to just 12% of non-volunteers overall.

Amy McGarvey, Research and Insight Manager at NCVO, said: 

“Our latest Time Well Spent research finds volunteers from the global majority feel less satisfied, more excluded and less likely to continue compared to volunteers overall. Our findings help us to understand why this is, and what needs to be done differently to ensure volunteering continues to be diverse, reflective and inclusive. It also highlights the positives that we can continue to build upon. This research is just the beginning. It’s important that we continue to learn and explore the different experiences of the diverse groups and people who make up the global majority, and look at these through an intersectional lens.”

NCVO’s research highlights practical implications for volunteering organisations and opportunities for positive changes that will help organisations to better involve, support and retain global majority volunteers:

  1. Consider motivations: Global majority volunteers are most likely to be motivated by a cause that is important to them. People from the global majority are more than twice as likely to volunteer for a religious cause (21% vs 10%) and career-related benefits are also seen as a stronger motivation compared with volunteers overall (14% vs 9%).
  2. Start the journey ‘right’: Having a quick and easy entry process is also a factor more likely to encourage global majority non-volunteers to take up volunteering compared to non-volunteers overall (16% vs 10%). 
  3. Build belonging: A culture of trust and respect, recognition, combined with a sense of belonging, are particularly important to people from the global majority. These factors influence overall satisfaction with volunteering.
  4. Ensure flexibility: Flexibility is the main factor that would encourage global majority non-volunteers to start volunteering. Volunteering opportunities which appeal to global majority volunteers and non-volunteers most are those they can dip in and out of (35%) or one-off opportunities (34%).

Speaking to Charity Today ahead of Volunteers Day, Sarah Vibert, CEO of NCVO, commented on the findings: 

“This research is the first of its kind, and we’re proud to be adding to the body of evidence that builds a better understanding of volunteering. The data tells an interesting perspective on how people from the global majority experience volunteering, and poses questions for how we apply the learnings and continue to build further understanding in the future. It’s important that we continue to learn and explore the experiences of people from the global majority. For now, though, this is an important first step and we hope it will help organisations enhance the experiences of volunteers from the global majority.”

For more information and to read the full report, visit: http://www.ncvo.org.uk/news-and-insights/news-index/time-well-spent-2023-volunteering-among-the-global-majority

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