A survey of community charities has highlighted the need for remote employee volunteering to help support charities and people across UK.
Community investment and engagement platform Neighbourly, which connects businesses with local good causes, surveyed almost 1,000 front-line charity partners and found that over half (54%) need the help of remote volunteers to support both vulnerable people and the causes themselves in the coming weeks and months.
80%, including homeless charities, foodbanks and disability groups, said they have had to adapt their services to meet the increasing demand caused by the coronavirus crisis, while face to face volunteering in most cases has also had to cease due to social distancing.
With summer usually a peak time for volunteering with Volunteer’s Week taking place from 1-7 June and many employer schemes running through the warmer months, Neighbourly is helping businesses including Danone, Heineken and The Football Association to adapt their schemes and enable employees to share their skills remotely.
Charities said that the most important areas of remote volunteering for the beneficiaries they work with are support for individuals in using technology, befriending schemes, help with financial management and letter-writing to isolated people.
Jon Devlin, Volunteer Co-ordinator at Greenwich and Bexley Hospice commented:
“We have 700 patients, and many of our volunteers are aged over 60, so are currently unable to provide their usual support. Remote volunteering presents a major opportunity for our hospice to recruit younger members in the community who have vital digital knowledge, time on their hands, and are looking for ways to make a difference.”
When asked how volunteers could help their organisation, respondents said their charity would benefit most with help on fundraising, social media management, marketing and website management.
Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, said:
“Volunteering from home offers a safe and flexible way for people to make a big difference. Employees can support good causes wherever they might be based – all while at home, fitting around other time commitments. By matching relevant skills with charities’ need, businesses can support essential services at a time when they are needed more than ever.
“It’s not just charities who will benefit. Volunteering has important wellbeing benefits for the volunteers themselves, and helps people feel engaged and rewarded – all of which is particularly important in helping to stay connected and motivated while working from home, or furloughed.”
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