If you would like to receive more of news and insights from our team sign up here.
The National Trust has revealed that over the last decade its volunteer numbers have increased by 30,000. This means that there are now some 70,000 individuals who each year are carrying out voluntary tasks from looking after and cleaning stately homes to ushering toads across busy roads.
The organisation is not alone in attracting more volunteers. Whether it is the Olympic legacy effect or a reflection of a general countrywide desire to “give something back” volunteer numbers seem to rising across all sectors. This means that charities and other organisations are able to reap the skills and enthusiasm of a spread of people from all walks of life.
Whilst volunteers bring great benefits to charities they can also give managers a bit of a challenge. When volunteers mix with paid employees it is vital that task allocation and team work are structured with everyone’s wellbeing in mind. It can be too easy to give the plum jobs to volunteers “in case we lose them” or to set volunteers on tasks which conflict with the day to day jobs of employees. To avoid friction managers need to engage the enthusiasm and commitment of volunteers and employees as well as ensuring that volunteers are fully briefed on the work and ethos of the organisation. Managed carefully, volunteers can enrich and enliven the life of a charity and that is good for everyone.