Match-making volunteers

Recent research has found that 50 per cent of people who do not currently volunteer in Buckinghamshire say they would be more likely to do so if they could do so from home, or locally.

Many local charities and community groups are adapting to this preference and there are now 35 flexible volunteer roles registered with Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service, a free unit that helps people across the county find volunteering opportunities that suit them.

Findings from the independent research Volunteering in Buckinghamshire are being shared as part of Volunteers’ Week 2023 (1-7 June 2023), the annual nationwide celebration of volunteers and their contribution to charities and community groups.

Carried out by February 2023, the research asked about the needs and barriers faced by current volunteers, potential volunteers and local volunteer-involving organisations.

Key findings include:

  • More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of respondents who do not volunteer said not having to sign up to a regular commitment would enable them to do so, with one in two saying volunteering from or near home would help.
  • Of the respondents who have not volunteered before, 42 per cent said they did not know how to find opportunities, nearly half (44 per cent) said they did not have time, and a third (32 per cent) had not found a role that suited their interests.
  • Three out of four (75 per cent) of respondents who currently volunteer use existing skills for good causes, with around half of those who volunteer saying they do so for socialising, mental health and/ or they are passionate about the cause.
  • Sixty per cent of volunteering organisations which took part in the research offer weekend volunteering roles; 51 per cent had evening volunteering opportunities; and 40 per cent also offered remote roles which could be carried out from home.
  • The majority of volunteers (64 per cent) said they had up to five hours per month they could offer to volunteering, which is enough for many volunteer roles.

Stephanie Thompson, Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service’s lead at Community Impact Bucks, said: ‘More and more local charities are offering volunteering opportunities that could fit around people’s other commitments such as work or childcare.

‘We hope the research will help to get more people involved and helping out with their local charities and community groups.’

Since March 2020, the matching service has pulled together more than 1,800 people in roles ranging from befrienders and mentors, to volunteer-at-home administrator roles and flexible fundraising roles, to one-off marshalling at events.

It currently has more than 150 volunteer opportunities to be filled, including roles that are local or can take place from home, are one-off or ad hoc, or are flexible in terms of time of day/week.

What you need to know:
People interested in finding out about volunteering in the county should visit the Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service where they can find more information about the service, how to register, and some examples of roles ready to be filled. People can also read about the experiences of local volunteers on the Community Impact Bucks website.