Volunteering post Covid

5 July 2021
VINY hand heart

Over the last few months there has been increasing interest in, and discussion about, what volunteering might look like after the pandemic. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) recently announced it has been in discussions with Volunteering Matters, The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) and the Association of Volunteer Managers who are now working together to develop a National Vision for Volunteering by the end of 2021. They are seeking to work collaboratively and inclusively and are asking for help, insights, experiences and knowledge.

There can be little doubt that over the last year we have seen the potential of what volunteering and volunteers can achieve. There is increasing research in this area such as the project Mobilising Volunteers Effectively (MOvE) identifying “The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in successful collaboration, community-based working and mobilisation of volunteers that have driven significant change within communities and can offer a new blueprint for social action”.

Does the pandemic give us an opportunity to rethink what we deliver and consider how we can build on the potential of volunteering? What might this mean for volunteering in the future? How can we do things differently going forward? How can we capture and sustain goodwill? What is the change we actually want to achieve?

For organisations is this an opportunity to:

  • Review and consider the involvement of volunteers. Is it possible to offer opportunities for people to make the difference they want to make offering different types of volunteering from micro roles such as helping with one-off events, not requiring a DBS check, to roles where volunteers are asked to commit or participate for longer periods of time?
  • Consider flexible approaches to involving volunteers. We will be discussing flexible volunteering and the potential of increased technology for the management of volunteers at our Volunteer Co-ordinator Network Meeting in July.
  • Build on pathways, relationships and the connection of people and place.
  • Explore further partnership working and the sharing of volunteers across organisations, causes and places.
  • Focus on the quality of the volunteering experience rather than on volunteering by numbers. Getting large numbers of people involved has been really important during the pandemic but we have seen the challenge of recruiting volunteers not knowing if they will be needed.
  • Challenge thinking and ways of doing things, be more inclusive and recognise everyone’s skills and talents, value the contribution and knowledge of people with lived experiences; recognise barriers to engagement and remove them where they exist.
  • Make processes less cumbersome for people to get involved. There has been much discussion about the idea of a volunteer passport that would enable volunteers to move between organisations and opportunities; although it appears more work is needed in this area to fully understand its potential.
  • Explore the value and potential of employee volunteering.
  • Offer more opportunities for young people.
  • Look at how we can develop services and embed them in the community. Arguably we have learnt from Covid the value of a holistic approach.
  • Consult with, and involve existing volunteers to get their views on proposals right from the outset. Volunteers are a resource that needs to be looked after, managed and nurtured. We need to not just maintain engagement, we need to give consideration to how we involve them in helping our organisations to respond in a post-pandemic world. How do we ensure their voices are valued, heard and utilised to help decide on the future ways of developing and delivering our services with others?
  • Raise the profile of volunteering and social action in all its forms.
    It will be really interesting to see what happens next over the next 6 – 12 months. To see how the sector ensures that the positive volunteering narrative, which has captured the imagination of the nation over the course of the last year, does not tail off as the virus recedes… Perhaps now more than ever it is time for groups to be bold and to use this as an opportunity to develop their volunteering offer and capitalise on the goodwill and community spirit seen during the pandemic.
If you would like any support with this Community First Yorkshire can offer further help and support

Volunteer recruitment – if you have new volunteer opportunities to share, add them for free on our online database, Volunteering in North Yorkshire.

New enquiries – if you need support with any aspect of volunteer management please complete a New Enquiry Form and one of our developments officers will be in touch to support you.

General info – for general information, guidance, templates, online training and resources please visit our dedicated website, which includes 15 factsheets that cover many aspects of volunteer management e.g. recruitment, supervisions and template policies etc.

If you have any further questions or need support with any aspect of volunteering, please do get in touch volunteersupport@communityfirstyorkshire.org.uk

Volunteer co-ordinator network meetings – a network meeting for volunteer co-ordinators and those in a charity with responsibility for volunteers across North Yorkshire to network and share information, advice, tips and thoughts on all aspects of volunteer management, see here for more information.

Facebook group – if you have not already done so you may like to join our closed Facebook group for V-Net. The group now has over 100 members. The group is for people to share their thoughts, actions and questions on all aspects of volunteer management. You will need a Facebook account to join, please contact us if you need guidance on this. If you already have a Facebook account please click here to join.

Volunteer Charter – we have recently launched a new Volunteering Charter for organisations involving volunteers in North Yorkshire. Our Charter highlights twelve areas a good organisation considers when it involves volunteers and makes a commitment to supporting them. Why not sign up, raise the profile of your volunteering locally and demonstrate to your existing and potential volunteers that you are committed to good practice and providing safe and rewarding roles. Further details are available here