What are volunteers doing?

As you might expect, formal voluntary work is diverse: in terms of skills, it can range from less skilled jobs such as working a cash till or weeding to highly skilled tasks requiring decision making (as in the case of trustees). In other words, formal voluntary work is very similar to paid work, with the same variety of jobs and subject to the same ‘hierarchies’ between skilled and unskilled workers (Musick and Wilson, 2008).

Some types of organisation or activity attract more volunteers than others:

  • 57% of the people who volunteer formally do so with a sports club or group, making them the most popular organisations.
  • Fundraising and running events are the most popular volunteering activities of formal volunteers, with 44% organising or helping to run an event or activity and 40% being involved in raising money.
  • Nearly one in three of those who volunteered formally in the past year carried out activities to get others involved.
  • Giving advice is the most common form of giving unpaid help to others, with 42% of people who gave unpaid help in the last year doing so.

Get more data from the Community Life Survey.

Activity 2

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes.
By signing in and enrolling on this course you can view and complete all activities within the course, track your progress in My OpenLearn Create. and when you have completed a course, you can download and print a free Statement of Participation - which you can use to demonstrate your learning.

Why people volunteer