Today IPPR North publishes a new report on volunteering in Northern England by Professor Tony Chapman, Policy&Practice and Jack Hunter, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Public Policy Research.
Based on research findings from the Third Sector Trends study, the report recognises that the volume of voluntary activity in the north is enormous – about 930,000 people regularly volunteer and deliver over 76m hours of work.
The bulk of volunteering is organised through the tiny charities and groups. Those with income below £10,000 produce about a third of all volunteering opportunities, and over two thirds of volunteering hours happen in small organisations with an annual income below £100,000.
The report shows that It’s not just about the volume of time that volunteers give, it’s about the ‘quality’ of their contribution and the ‘depth’ of the social impact it achieves. The bedrock of civil society is its core of small and informal groups where people have come together to make a difference to their local areas. Most of these organisations have no employees and their financial resources are often very limited. But they survive and thrive because of the hours of work put in by their unpaid volunteers.
Policy makers are urged to recognise that it can be difficult to assess in conventional evaluation terms the impact of small charities that work with and rely upon volunteers the most. But just because it is hard to measure their contribution does not mean that it should not be valued – so national and local funders need to keep this in mind when allocating money to local charities – they may not be able to measure the impact of what they do – but they would, like as not, be able to recognise the loss to the locality if they were no longer there.
A blog by Tony Chapman on the research findings can be read here: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/76580532/posts/76
And the full report is available from IPPR North, The Value of Volunteering in the North