Volunteering – People and Policies: Motivation and Trends in UK Volunteering

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A study of the recruitment, effective utilisation and retention of volunteers requires special social and economic models. In practice it also requires a particular organisational sensitivity as to the motivation for people to volunteer in the first place, what can reasonably be expected of them, and how they can be kept engaged within the normal development processes of organisational life. Large numbers of people give significant amounts of valuable time in semi-formalised working structures. The normal models of Human Resource Management need modification, but can still be applicable. Governments are interested in the many benefits of a thriving voluntary sector, yet they may not have the tools to influence or develop this valuable societal resource. This presentation looks at volunteering in two UK charities or NGOs in the context of a wider national and international picture. It looks at practical, innovative and analytical approaches to understanding and addressing the social trends underlying the decisions of individual women and men to do voluntary work. Key issues for organisations that use and depend on volunteers, their skills, relative professionalism and commitment will be discussed. The structures in which women and men, young and old, volunteer raise questions of opportunity and choice. The issues raised cut across disciplinary boundaries – gender, choice, public policy, the role of government and organisational management.


Keywords: Volunteer, Gender, Economics, Management, Policy
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Volunteering – People and Policies


Peter Hepburn

Chief Executive, Cats Protection
Chelwood Gate, Sussex, UK

Peter Hepburn FRSA (Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has written and spoken on a variety of aspects of the governance of NGOs or voluntary sector organisations, both in the UK and internationally. Early in his career he moved from the public sector to business, becoming a company director in an international group of companies in the construction industry. He later moved to the UK charity sector where he has held senior management jobs in 5 charities. In addition he has been a trustee in 3 charities and he has been a volunteer in other ways. His most recent roles have included: Trustee of Anti Slavery International, Deputy Chief Executive of Victim Support, Chief Executive of Cats Protection. Writing and speaking topics have included Human Rights, Effective Trusteeship, Business Planning, all in the context of volunteering.

Ref: I08P0425