Nearly 1 billion people throughout the world volunteer time to support their community, their neighbours or more generally to give their time freely to contribute to the common good. A study has identified that in the European Union around 92 to 94 million adults are involved in volunteering.
Although volunteering is a central activity of our society, there is still a lack of a common legal framework and coherent legislation across the member states. An environment that facilitates and enables volunteering demands secure and sustainable funding for volunteering infrastructure, as well as a common understanding of the key principles and components of quality volunteering.
Volonteurope and its partners established a European working group on measuring the impact of volunteering. This working group was tasked with sharing best practice, developing universal indicators and raising the profile of impact measurement across Europe, focusing particularly on social impact.
To make the case for volunteering and improve the quality of the provision it is necessary to estimate and calculate its value, economically but also in terms of the impact and contribution that it has in society.
The volunteer effort produces a wide array of impacts – on the volunteers themselves, on their activities’ beneficiaries, on the organisations through which the activity is organised, and on the quality of life more generally in the societies in which the volunteers operate. Unfortunately, however, few of these impacts are being captured in any systematic form. With the exception of a few countries, volunteering is not covered in official statistics and, volunteering organisations lack the knowledge for making the case for the social value of volunteering.
To contribute to creating an enabling and facilitating environment for volunteering, Volonteurope developed a working strand around valuing volunteering to raise the standards of measuring the impact of volunteering in terms of social value.
This working strand recognised that a lot of work has been carried out both in Europe and globally on measuring the economic value of volunteering. Volonteurope proposed to complement this work and focused on developing a range of standards for measuring the impact of volunteering, specifically in terms of the social value to volunteers, beneficiaries, civil society organisations and communities.
Volonteurope working group on measuring the impact of volunteering
This work strand initially focused on creating a European working group, which included Volonteurope members, partners and experts across the EU and beyond.The working group mapped existing practices with the support of members and partners, determining current levels of impact measurement (processes, standards, tools, trends).
The working group was also tasked with sharing best practice and raising the profile of social impact measurement across Europe. Throughout the project the working group met in various locations across Europe as well as working collectively remotely.
The working group hosted a webinar to raise awareness on the importance of measuring the social impact of volunteering, and worked collectively on a policy paper that was presented in Edinburgh in March 2018. You can find out more about this event in the blog below, and you can view and download the the Measuring the Impact of Volunteering position paper here.
Presentations from our final event
Barely a month into my role as the new European Projects Coordinator at Volonteurope I found myself deep in the picturesque forest of Chotěboř, in the heart of Bohemia, Czech Republic. I was there, as well as thirty five other young people, as part of the Volunteering...
2016 saw London awarded the title of European Capital of Volunteering, bestowed upon it by the European Centre of Volunteering. As a result, over the past year London City Hall, and specifically Team London, have been making a concerted effort to promote and value...
In the beginning of May this year I was approached by my project manager for the charity I work for that’s part of a large organisation for volunteering, about a five day trip to Strasbourg to attend the 150th anniversary of La Ligue de l’enseignement. I would...
Validation policy for volunteering organisations During the last ten years, many tools for validation of competences of volunteers have been developed and tested, on national as well as on the EU-level. Some of these tools are spread widely, some are only used in one...
Volunteering has both an economic value as well as an intrinsic value in terms of social impact. Several studies have identified ways to measure its economic impact, however, for building a strong case for the added value of volunteering and its contribution to the...