A View from the Turret

The case for volunteering

I was recently directed to this article by a member of staff.

Is Volunteering Dying? – Dominic Pinkney’s World of Volunteering

In it, the writer cites that whilst volunteering is far from dead, its injured. He then defines why it’s injured, and what people can do to resuscitate it. It’s worth a read.

We all know that the nature of volunteering has changed exponentially over the past 5 years. Even before COVID19, people were looking to volunteer in a different way, and for a whole host of new and differing reasons. The pandemic gave rise to an immediate concern, an immediate cause for help, and people responded in their thousands. Where the sector wholly failed was in not marshalling this enthusiasm and using it to build new bridges with a whole host of people who had never volunteered before: But there should be no surprise in that. Volunteering as a viable income stream for organisations has been reduced year on year to the point where volunteering bureaus can no longer stand by volunteering alone. Many have become hybrid, delivering front line projects as a way of surviving and supplementing their income. Pinkney is right in that National Infrastructure Organisations have singularly failed in convincing Government that volunteering is a worthwhile and valuable end game in its own right, much in the way that Infrastructure per see is poorly funded across much of the UK, including here in Northamptonshire. Government across the piece is consistently looking for quick fixes or sticking plaster solutions to problems, and volunteering is simply not that. What volunteering does do though is build individuals, empower communities, and connect society. It’s almost a defining rod of where we stand as a civic society. So, what’s the future?

Its unclear. There will still be volunteers who want to access roles in a traditional manner, and there will be others who want to micro volunteer or volunteer where its pressingly urgent. All the voluntary sector can do is make sure that volunteering is a worthwhile pursuit for the individual to undertake, and wherever possible extol the virtues of volunteering and report on it accordingly. As Pinkney suggests, its not dead just injured.