The Value of Volunteering

The Value of Volunteering report, in collaboration with the CIPD, reveals the positive value that organisations can realise by supporting their staff to undertake volunteering in schools and colleges. It shows that employers who support their staff to volunteer have found employees to be more motivated, more productive and have a better sense of well-being.

Read the full report

Volunteers are playing a vital role in supporting schools and young people during the pandemic. For The Value of Volunteeringexample, volunteers serve as governors to help schools make complex Covid related decisions or support young people by talking about different jobs and giving purpose to children’s learning at a time when this has never been more crucial.

The report’s findings show significant benefits of educational volunteering, including improved communication and influencing skills; an improved sense of mission and loyalty at work; and greater staff productivity. These organisational benefits sit alongside the personal benefits realised by individuals themselves, with evidence showing volunteering can improve staff well-being.

And the volunteers surveyed felt that they made a difference to young people. This tallies with research Education and Employers has done with young people over the last ten years which shows that encounters with volunteers from the world of work helps to: Improve academic attainment at GCSE, Increase young people’s earning potential; Broaden young peoples’ horizons and raise their aspirations; Excite children about subjects, increasing motivation, confidence and attitude to learning; Challenge gender and social stereotypes; and reduce the likelihood of young people becoming NEET. And people who volunteer as governors have a deep strategic impact on schools. They help set the vision and ethos of their schools, hold school leadership to account for the educational performance of their students and provide vital oversight of the use and probity of a school’s funding and expenditure.

Key findings of the research:

  • 80% or more volunteers reported benefits for their communication, influencing & relationship skills with over half also benefitting for leadership and other skills.
  • 79% reported improvements to their sense of mission at work as a result of volunteering in education and 68% reported greater motivation at work. 84% also described benefits for their motivation in day-to-day life outside of work.
  • Over a quarter reported greater productivity at work, with 44% reporting manager recognition for the impact of their volunteering. More than a third said volunteering had helped them apply for different or more senior roles.
  • The overwhelming majority (94%) felt they gained a better understanding of society and social issues
  • Almost all people (99%) who are volunteering in schools felt that they made a difference to young people.

Methodology

The research draws on three sources: an online volunteer survey, volunteer case studies and a review of empirical research. This report builds on our earlier study (Percy & Rogers, 2020) which focused on well-being benefits for volunteers in full-time employment; in this report, we expand the focus to all volunteers with knowledge of the world of work and a broader set of benefits.

The online survey comprises 1,026 people who volunteer in the Inspiring the Future and Inspiring Governance programmes and via partner networks supported by the CIPD. Six survey respondents were identified as case studies for qualitative follow-up, based on individuals reporting high skills gain in key areas of interest, such as communications and leadership. Read the full report.