Senior couple on a coastal walk

Volunteer Makers Workshop Notes – For Pilot Programme Partners

The Volunteer Revolution – Volunteer Makers


  • Build upon your volunteer engagement
  • Understand sustainable volunteering
  • Understanding a Volunteer Makers model
  • Create a volunteer engagement plan
  • The Volunteer Revolution?

42% of people questioned in a survey reported volunteering formally (i.e. through a group, club or organisation) at least once in the previous year in England. 27%

said they took part at least once a month (‘regular volunteers’).

If the survey results are extrapolated to the UK population as a whole, this would produce an estimate of 21.6m people formally volunteering at least once in the last year, and 13.8m people formally volunteering regularly.

Who volunteers – why is it important to know and what is the opportunity?

People of all ages volunteer. Despite some variation in the frequency and levels of volunteering across age ranges, between around a quarter (24%) and a third (33%) of people in each age range report volunteering at least once a month (with those aged 65-74 the most likely to volunteer this frequently).

According to the UN, the number of older persons has tripled over the past 50 years and will more than triple again over the next 50. In Europe, an increase in life expectancy and low birth rates will continue to push the population cohort toward a larger proportion of older people: by 2025, 30% of the EU population will be 65 years or older – the largest proportion of old people in the world.

According to the UN, the global middle class will expand to 3 billion people by the year 2020. Most of this growth will happen in developing economies.

Understanding specific demographics, such as baby boomers, is fundamental to understanding how you engage with them.

Baby boomers are people born during the demographic post–World War II baby boom approximately between the years 1946 and 1964, giving an age range between 51 and 69 as of 2015.

Over 50s hold 80% of the nation’s wealth

Increased giving by Boomers forecast to eventually double annual charitable bequests

Boomers and Matures are the single largest consumer group and spend more than £5bn a year online (US)

Potential monetary value of over 50s’voluntary work in UK is more than £5bn

Baby Boomers and digital?

  • 77% are regularly online
  • 70% of these use Facebook regularly
  • They are just as likely to donate online as younger generations
  • They will examine your digital content more closely than younger generations!
  • 33% (and growing) volunteer

What do they want?

  • Proof of value
  • Control

What can they get?

  • “Value-exchange”
  • To feel great about giving
  • To be appreciated

The top five benefits from volunteering given by volunteers are:

  • ‘A sense of satisfaction from seeing the results’ (97%)
  • ‘I really enjoy it’ (96%)
  • ‘It gives me a sense of personal achievement’ (88%)
  • ‘Meet people and make friends’ (86%)
  • ‘Gives me the chance to do things that I am good at’ (83%)

Percentage of annual charitable giving

  • Gen y – 11%
  • Gen X – 20%
  • Boomers -43%
  • Mature – 26%

The value of volunteering – what is the value to your organisation?

The Office for National Statistics recently estimated the annual value of regular formal volunteering to be
£23.9 billion.

Earlier work by Volunteering England put the annual output figure for all formal and informal volunteers at
£45.1 billion.
The DWP and the Cabinet Office recently estimated that the wellbeing value to frequent formal volunteers themselves is around £70 billion per year. Research by the Join In Trust in 2014 estimated the total annual financial value of sports-based volunteering alone to be £53 billion.

As a comparison: UK car industry is: £69.5 billion turnover as sector accelerates to historic high.
Volunteer recruitment barriers

There is a challenge around fine-tuning support for particular groups/demographics.

Ensuring volunteer management is championed at the board level and encouraging networking which builds on support within an individual’s own organisation.

Understanding the need to explore the trend of using volunteers to manage other volunteers

Case study:

Lynne Berry, chairwoman of the Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing, said charities needed to wake up to the changing situation.

“Charities now face considerable competition from people working longer, needing to care for their grandchildren more or simply having fun. There is no longer a reserve army of little old ladies for them. They need to find new ways to get people to volunteer,” she said.
Today’s workshop

A discussion around sustainable volunteering

Where are you now with your volunteering and where do you need to get to?

– Step Change Ladder

Your vision


Beyond your operational volunteering into a wider volunteer community-driven engagement

2) Sustainable volunteering – the volunteer makers model

Principles for a Volunteer Makers model:

• Thinking of your volunteers as a community with a potential to self-sustain and grow, helping you achieve your goals.

Understanding who your volunteers are, using demographics/profiling, will drive your ideas for engagement
Allow volunteering in ways that suit both your organisation and attracts volunteers
e.g. Museum Makers, Luton Culture.

3) Volunteer engagement plan

Your vision (aligning with your overall organisation vision)
Your goals
Target profile(s)
Volunteer activity types
Volunteer challenges
Platforms to deliver your engagement & manage your volunteer community
Organisational capacity

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