Most volunteers are now motivated by the chance to develop new and existing skills, according to a new report. ‘The New Alchemy’, written by research consultancy nfpSynergy, also says people want their experience to be personalised and flexible, rather than traditional “envelope stuffing and money-counting.”
The report is based on research and the results of a survey with volunteer managers. Nearly half of those polled felt young people volunteer to develop new or existing skills, while over a third said the same about the middle aged. It was felt skills were less important to older people, who instead volunteer for friendship and company.
Between 19 and 25% of the managers surveyed thought volunteers of all ages gave their time because they believed in the cause, while around 3% attributed it to religion. The older the volunteers were, the more likely they were to want to ‘give something back’, the poll said.
The report goes on to look at what volunteers want to get out of their time, with 80% of volunteer managers agreeing that volunteers were more aware of what they want from their experience.
It also contains key advice for charities on recruiting and keeping volunteers, including treating them more like employees with one-to-ones and tailored roles.
nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said:
“The needs and motivations of a young volunteer are completely different from a recently retired person. Any organisation that wants to successfully find and keep their volunteers must understand what they want. The age of volunteers simply doing as they’re told are long gone. Volunteers now have a choice of how they spend their time, whether they are 16 or 60, so charities have to respond to these needs if they are to build and maintain a vibrant army of volunteers.“