Age matters when it comes to volunteering

A significant new report by Community Impact Bucks has found that levels of volunteering in Buckinghamshire are affected by age rather than gender.

The Volunteering Innovation Report shows that different age groups are motivated to volunteer for particular reasons, with the young more likely to volunteer to gain new skills whilst the ‘squeezed middle’ are more likely to be motivated by a desire to help people.

Key age-specific findings include:

  • Younger respondents (16-34 year olds) are more likely than other groups to volunteer to gain new skills and to help with career progression
  • The ‘squeezed middle’ (35-54 year olds) tend to have a desire to help others or improve things
  • Older people are driven to volunteer as part of a personal philosophy and to make friends

As well as looking at the reasons for volunteering, the report identifies the top 10 barriers faced by people with ‘work commitments’ named as the main barrier overall. The second greatest barrier, named by over 25%, was a preference to ‘do other things with spare time.’ The third most common reason for being unable to volunteer is ‘childcare’, a challenge for the young and increasingly for older people looking after grandchildren.

Based on these age-specific trends and the main barriers for each age cohort, the Volunteering Innovation Report provides tips for Bucks charities and community groups to help them recruit and retain volunteers in the future. Organisations are encouraged to be more innovative in both the opportunities they offer and new ways of promoting these roles. Tips include:

  • Challenging the time-poor barrier by developing micro-volunteering opportunities consisting of bite-size volunteering actions that are quick to start and complete and do not require long term commitment
  • Focusing on the volunteer experience and soft benefits to illustrate what someone would get out of volunteering
  • Reaching out to people newly located to an area to inform them of volunteering

“There are over 2,500 registered charities in Buckinghamshire and the vast majority of these are on the lookout for volunteers – whether it is as a trustee, a community bus driver or retail assistant to name a few,” said Nick Phillips, Chief Executive of CIB. “We already have over 175,000 adults volunteering in our county at least once a year but there are many more who have not yet found the perfect role. I really do believe volunteering is a habit which needs to start at a young age: if organisations make it easier for people to get on board by addressing the hurdles of everyday life, our Bucks’ volunteer numbers will soar.”

A range of free top tips on how to recruit and retain volunteers can be found at , providing charities with simple, innovative steps to put into action. Also a wide range of volunteering opportunities available throughout Buckinghamshire can be found at .


For media enquiries and to arrange an interview please contact Rachel Fisher


T: 0330 236 9350 

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