| Volunteering is a serious job these days
||[Jun. 3rd, 2009|12:28 pm]
Whether it's a Saturday helping at the Church fete, serving as a charity trustee or campaigning for a greener environment, millions of us volunteer. More than 1 in 2 of us do so every year, and most of those volunteers give up their time once a month or more. Our contribution makes a huge difference to the health and well being of our society and our democracy. |
The question, particularly during a recession, is whether we can find the funding to manage and equip this army of goodwill.
When governments urge us to volunteer more they sometimes forget that volunteering is a serious job these days. Charities have for centuries relied on the backbone of a volunteer workforce. But while volunteering is a free gift that does not mean charities don't have expenses and overheads to organise volunteering. So whether its manning the charity shop or helping out at the youth club the charity has to manage the training and supervision. Properly government and the public expect high standards from all organisations , and if you are working with children or vulnerable adults then we expect proper regulation. That must apply equally whether you are paid or unpaid.
There is a strong relationship between the effective paid staff of a charity and its volunteers. Increasingly our national and our community charities and civic groups are becoming more professional in their approach. We need to be. So volunteer does not mean amateur.
And many of our great charities are finding times are tough. Falling donations, a collapse in commercial sponsorship, and a looming squeeze on public sector spending mean tight budgets. So giving remains as important as volunteering. Charities need our time - but they need our money too.