It’s estimated that 15.2 million people volunteer at least once a month in the UK*. If you’ve got a project on the go and need some extra help, volunteers fit the bill perfectly. They can help with fundraising, sports, befriending, administrative work, or practical help and support to children, young or older people.
Where do I start?
It’s sometimes a challenge to encourage people to give up their time when life is so busy, but there are things you can do to make volunteering attractive:
- Word of mouth – nothing works better than asking around to see if anyone is interested in giving up a bit of their time to help a worthwhile project or cause.
- Connect with volunteering organisations – they can access pools of volunteers in your area who are primed and ready to go.
- Advertise – distribute leaflets in local libraries, surgeries, schools etc asking for help. See the how to market your event page for more advice.
- Be flexible and make it convenient – make it clear that they don’t have to commit to consistent hours or helping out every week.
- Show appreciation – volunteers aren’t necessarily giving up their time to have praise heaped upon them but make sure you let them know you appreciate their efforts (eg organise social events where they can get together with other volunteers).
- Be clear and organised – make it clear what your volunteers are working towards so they have a goal in mind. Be meticulous in your planning so they know what they’re expected to do.
Many organisations, like the Co-op, have volunteering programmes because they see the huge benefits for communities and their own colleagues. Why not connect with a Co-op Community Champion or Co-operative Local Forum in your area and find out more about how they can help?
What’s in it for you?
- More hands-on help for your project or activity
- Making more connections in the community will help you organise future activities
- The feel good factor – working together with like-minded people can give you a real sense of achievement
Where do I go for more information?
There are plenty of local organisations where you can access more information and guidance. Some towns and cities have their own volunteering centres. Find your nearest volunteering centre.
*Source – National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)