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Volunteering returns to 10 year high, says new report

Young most likely age group to volunteer and men overtake women

  • Volunteering is at the joint highest level for ten years with over a quarter of the British public (26%) having given time in the last three months (chart 1)
  • Volunteering by men at 10 year high as they overtake women (chart 2)
  • Volunteering by 16-24 years at 10 year high and at twice level of a decade ago (chart 3)
  • The young are still the most likely age group to volunteer, having consistently reported the highest volunteering levels of any age group on average over the last three years (chart 4)

Volunteering has returned to its highest level for ten years, new research shows. ‘The New Alchemy’, a new report from research consultancy nfpSynergy, also found that the number of men volunteering is now higher than that of women, while the young are consistently the most likely age group to give their time.

The report reveals that overall levels of volunteering among the British public have increased significantly, with one in four now saying they had volunteered for a charity, organisation or local community in the last three months. The figure of 26%, reached only once before in the last decade, is a boost of 7% since 2003.

Men were found to be slightly more likely to volunteer than women, bucking the trend of the previous ten years. The report’s nationally representative survey of 1,000 Britons shows that 27% of men have volunteered in the last three months compared to 26% of women. Females have only polled lower than males twice in the last decade and have an average level of 24% for the last three years, compared to 21% for men. The gap has certainly narrowed from 2005, when the figures were 23% and 13% in favour of women.

The numbers of young volunteers have continued to rise, with a third of 16-24 year olds stating that they had given their time, more than double the level in 2005. Over the last three years an average of 31% of young people gave their time making them the most likely age group to volunteer.

The research also shows that volunteering levels vary with patterns of religious activity, with regular worshipers more than twice as likely to volunteer.

nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said:

“The number of men volunteering doubles in a decade! Number of young people volunteering doubles in a decade! These are extraordinary changes. It’s a really encouraging sign to see that so many more young people are volunteering and that the gap between men and women is narrowing, but all too often charities don’t think about how they can reach out to these groups. Targeting volunteer opportunities to appeal to different groups is essential to ensuring a steady supply of volunteers and capitalising on the skills they provide.

The continued increase in volunteering is an encouraging sign, but keeping volunteers involved and engaged is another challenge. Our new report explores more of these trends and offers advice to charities on how they can attract, manage and get the best out of their volunteers.”

Please see the attached report and slides for more details.

SOURCE: nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor, which regularly surveys a representative sample of 1000 16+ year olds throughout mainland Britain. Data used from 2003-2014.

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To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him directly on joe.saxton@nfpsynergy.net. If you cannot contact Joe, please contact Rob White (rob.white@nfpsynergy.net) for further assistance.


Note to editors:

nfpSynergy is a research consultancy that aims to provide the ideas, the insights and the information to help non-profits thrive.

We have over a decade of experience working exclusively with charities, helping them develop evidence-based strategies and get the best for their beneficiaries. The organisations we work with represent all sizes and areas of work and include one in three of the top 100 fundraising charities in the UK.

We run cost effective, syndicated tracking surveys of stakeholder attitudes towards charities and non-profit organisations. The audiences we reach include the general public, young people, journalists, politicians and health professionals. We also work with charities on bespoke projects, providing quantitative, qualitative and desk research services.

In addition, we work to benefit the wider sector by creating and distributing regular free reports, presentations and research on the issues that charities face. 


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The New Alchemy Part 2

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