Evidence from two UK volunteer matching services
Our fourth working paper, produced by Professor Alasdair Rutherford and Rahel Spath, explores volunteering during the pandemic by drawing upon evidence from two UK volunteer matching services.
The onset of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown elicited a surge in individuals expressing a desire to volunteer. However, the scale of these volunteers, and the difficulties of operating under COVID restrictions, meant that the majority were not matched to volunteering opportunities. Later lockdowns saw similar, smaller surges in volunteers coming forward, and by this point organisations were better able to mobilise more of this voluntary action. We examine administrative data from two volunteer-matching systems across the four nations of the UK in 2019 to 2021 to understand the scale, timing and characteristics of this UK-wide desire to help. We highlight the challenge of so many volunteers at once in difficult circumstances; the changing demographics of those coming forward; and the concern that some groups may be left behind as volunteering returns to ‘normal’ again.