The Value of Volunteering
25th May 2023 by Rachael Bruce
The gift of our time is perhaps one of the easiest yet most valuable things we can give to others.
Volunteers Week (June 1 – 7) recognises the contribution volunteers make across the UK. Now in its 39th year, this year’s theme is ‘Celebrate and Inspire’ with the aim of encouraging more people to take up volunteering.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ Community Life Survey found the proportion of the UK population who had volunteered at least once a month in 2021/22 was 16%. This was down from about 23% in 2019/20.
I currently volunteer as a befriender for Age UK. I was asked recently how I found time with a full time job, but it’s only a couple of hours out of my week and is as simple as being a friendly face for someone who’s lonely to chat to.
Previously I helped children living in family hostels run by the Whitechapel Centre, a homelessness charity in Liverpool, with their homework.
As part of the Coronation celebrations, people were encouraged to join the Big Help Out to support good causes in their communities. The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children joined volunteers at Upton Scouts Hut in Slough earning the Scouts widespread media coverage.
At Active PR colleagues are encouraged to pursue volunteer roles and we can offer flexibility to help them fulfil these commitments. Two of my colleagues volunteer for Home-Start Flintshire, which helps to support local families with children.
We also encourage our clients to play an active role in the communities they operate in. Lending a hand by sharing practical skills can often go much further than a financial donation, while also contributing to corporate social responsibility goals.
Helping someone in even the smallest ways has a feel-good factor for both parties. There is of course PR potential in helping good causes.
People will talk about the help they’ve received or given more openly and widely than a cash gift. Doing something practical also provides better photo opportunities than a financial contribution.
Several of our housebuilder clients have carried out garden makeovers for charities, schools and other community groups. Feedback is that these projects have helped with teambuilding, bringing together people from various departments. In some cases a one-off visit has developed into long-term volunteering.
If you’re feeling inspired to be active in your community, check out Becoming a volunteer – Volunteers’ Week (volunteersweek.org).