Covid exacerbating volunteering trends as decline among over 55s accelerates

Melanie May | 7 August 2020 | News

The Covid-19 pandemic may be exacerbating volunteering trends as the crisis forces more older people to step back and sees a greater number of younger age groups giving their time to good causes, nfpSynergy data shows.
nfpSynergy’s Charity Awareness Monitor questions a base of 8,000 UK adults and shows that rates among the over 55s have dropped by about by 10% since 2018.
However, the percentage of 16-24 year olds who said they had volunteered in the last three months when questioned in 2020 has increased from 30% in 2018 to 40%.
While Covid-19 has had a large part to play in this with elderly people self-isolating more strictly than other age groups, and many younger people volunteering during the crisis, nfpSynergy’s data also shows that younger age groups have been increasing their volunteering since 2012, which it says, suggests that Covid-19 has exacerbated an existing trend rather than restructuring the landscape of volunteering.
In 2012, 24% of 16-24 year olds said they had volunteered in the last three months. Among 25-34 year olds, there has also been a steady increase in volunteering levels since 2012, rising from 19% to 23% in 2018 and 27% in 2020. The level of 35-44 year olds volunteering has risen from 16% in 2012 to 20% in 2020.
In comparison, rates among the over 45s have largely dropped between 2012 and 2018, and again more steeply in 2020.
20% of 45-54 year olds said they had volunteered in the last three months when questioned in 2012, falling to 15% in 2018 and rising marginally to 16% this year.
Among 55-64 year olds, the rate dropped from 22% in 2012, to 17% in 2018, and 7% in 2020. The over 65s have seen a similar decrease – from 24% saying they had volunteered in 2012, to 23% in 2018, and 13% this year.
In a blog on the findings, nfySynergy’s Max Roche says:

“What is perhaps most interesting to note is that these figures corroborate rather than challenge the longitudinal trends in volunteering rates. Whilst in 2012 the older age groups outstripped the youth for levels of volunteering, that trend has steadily been reversed suggesting that Covid-19 has merely exacerbated an existing trend.”

The data can be viewed in full on the nfpSynergy site.

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