Be a Volunteer Champion
You're interested in how to become a volunteer champion! Great.
We want to encourage people, whether they are elected representatives, volunteers or members of the public to think about how they can do their bit to support volunteering.
Elected Representatives / Policy Makers
Recognise how much valuable community activity depends on volunteers.
- 21% (282,067 individuals) of the NI population are involved in formal volunteering (through organisations) and 35% (470,111 individuals) are involved in informal volunteering (at neighbourhood level). An estimated 145,734 individuals are both formal and informal volunteers.
- The economic value of volunteering in Northern Ireland has been estimated as £504 million per year.
- 77% of organisations in NI state that they could not operate without the support of volunteers. (It's all about Time, 2007)
- There is a need to encourage alot more people to volunteer, especially those people that are currently under-represented i.e. people with a disability, from lower income backgrounds and the Black Minority Ethnic groups and those from the 'older' old age group (70's, 80's).
- The Voluntary and Community Sector makes a positive difference to many areas which are of a high priority on the public policy agenda. The current Programme for Government has set out a clear focus on supporting tourism, improving health and well being, tackling disadvantage, enriching arts and culture, protecting the environment and creating safer communities.
Promote the benefits of volunteering.
- There is a wide body of research demonstrating the range of health and well being benefits that can come from volunteering. The University of Wales, Lampater has produced a literature review of existing research which explores the relationship between volunteering and health. The Unlocking Potential project of Volunteer Now has also been conducting a 2 yr longitudual study which involves tracking the same cohort of 50+ volunteers by asking them a range of survey questions on self reported health and well being.
- 73% of formal volunteers state that personal enjoyment was a very important benefit of volunteering.
- 74% of formal volunteers get satisfaction from seeing the results of their voluntary activity.
- 69% of 50+ yr old respondents state that getting involved in volunteering has increased their social interaction with people from different age groups (Making the Connection 2, 2010)
- 69% of young people said volunteering has increased their ability to get paid work and 66% said volunteering has increased their ability to get a place on a university or college course (Millennium Volunteers Survey 2012).
- View personal volunteer stories.
Encourage people to get involved in volunteering.
- Our website offers a ‘one stop shop’ for volunteers to search for opportunities and for volunteer involving organisations to advertise roles by posting them directly. Promote www.volunteernow.co.uk to people you meet in your constituency!
Recognise the barriers to volunteering and help address them.
- There can be barriers to volunteering; many of which are unnecessary, unintended and which should be addressed i.e. misperceptions of who volunteering is suitable for, fear of litigation, lack of public transport in rural areas, cost of fuel for volunteer drivers etc. Be aware of unintended negative consequences of public policy on volunteers when new policy or legislation is being developed. Talk to the Social Security Agency, Jobs and Benefits offices, insurance companies, AccessNI about making it easier for people to volunteer.
Support the implementation of the Volunteering Strategy for Northern Ireland.
Talk about volunteering to others, you may inspire them to try it!
- Tell your own personal volunteering story to others; let them know how it has benefited you.
- Share your story with us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Signpost them to the volunteer stories and the opportunities available to them on www.volunteernow.co.uk so as they can learn about others volunteering.
- There are a range of volunteering opportunities available in your local area. Use the search bar at the top of the page to choose an activity you're interested in, enter your postcode and how far you would be willing to travel. You can register for opportunities online and your details will be sent to the organisation.