National Council of Volunteering Organisations - Timewell spent report 2023

Posting mainly for interest The National Council of Volunteering Organisations has published their report in volunteering attitudes “Time Well Spent”

You can read the report on their website where it is also available for download.

Some key stats they have highlighted.

Satisfaction is high but lower than it was

92% of recent volunteers said they are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with their volunteering - dropping from 96% in 2019.

Satisfaction declines by age group: 96% of 55 and over say they’re satisfied, dropping to 82% of 18-24 year olds.

Volunteers are feeling the effects of a challenging few years

26% of volunteers say their volunteering is becoming too much like paid work, up from 19% in 2019.

24% say that their volunteering organisation has unreasonable expectations of them in terms of how much they do. This is up from 17% in 2019.

14% of volunteers who say they’re unlikely to continue volunteering say it’s because ‘it causes me too much stress’ – up from 9% in 2019

So how much does this apply to us?

How can we use it to influence up, down & sideways to improve things?


I’d love to know what these numbers would come out to from just RAFAC CFAV.


I think if RAFAC ran an anonymous well-being survey at the same time each year with the same questions they could get a benchmark for their engagement & retention - I suspect at the moment that data isn’t even covered or it relies on volunteers to push.

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Sounds like something the new Influence team could manage.

Similar to the Scouts “Scout Experience Survey

We run our Scout Experience Survey (SES) each year to find out what you think about Scouts. Whether you’re a young person, a volunteer or a parent/carer, the Scout Experience Survey is your chance to tell us what’s working well for you in Scouts and what isn’t.

As a thank you for taking part in the survey, we’ll enter you into a prize draw to win one of 30 prizes of £50 Amazon vouchers. Plus everyone who completes the survey will get a voucher code for 20% off at Scout Store (terms apply).


I suspect HQAC really wouldn’t like the numbers, and that’s probably why we don’t have a survey.


This is literally what I do every year at my company (of 60,000+ nationwide), including benchmarking against national equivalents.

But we have a budget and a dedicated team…

Having said that, I would be happy to get involved in something going out, I know we’ve done similar in the past. But I agree with other posts that say HQ wouldn’t like the results so won’t run it.


Engagement in internal surveys is probably lower than preferable, because a lack of faith in the CoC to care or act breeds apathy.

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MOD had a behavioural psychology team that runs the annual AFCAS and ResCAS surveys (continuous attitude surveys). It wouldn’t be impossible to have them do a CFAVCAS but require investment. As we’re volunteers I doubt there would be an appetite as there is still a bit of “if you don’t like it, lump it” attitude


I certainly see an attitude within RAFAC that those who raise issues are seen as complainers, rather than any kind of growth mindset that would enable us to tackle the problems.


A large part of the reserves are volunteers too.

Poor engagement directly correlates with “would have put negative e responses if I thought you cared enough to hear it”.


You’re right, and that is insane.

In an organisation full of volunteers, where the only thing you’re getting out of it is the warm and fuzzy that comes from doing your bit, making your people feel valued (through actually valuing them) is literally the only lever you can pull.

You don’t pay them, so they don’t need you like they do a day job.
You actually take away huge amounts of their free time, so you’re giving them a lot back if you push them away…

For most, there’s probably a natural lean towards leaving unless they’re getting something like shooting time / AT quals that they can’t get anywhere else.

Simply letting them volunteer and maybe giving them a uniform really isn’t the gift some people think it is.


Just seen this & think this might be the best topic to post in due to the volunteer management topic

It reminds me of similar situations that have happened at Sqn albeit often the chain of command hasn’t had the confidence to take the action needed.

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I feel that you are stretching the analogy here. The operation of a lifeboat station is a totally different matter from running a cadet unit. I have had the unenviable experience of being out there in the dark in conditions which none of us; helicopters, aircraft or ships; would have willingly endured, but it was our job and we were paid to do it. The lifeboats were out there also, they were volunteers and didn’t have be.

Having subsequently talked to lifeboat crew about shared experiences I understand how near they came on occasions to disaster. It requires a special kind of trust to continue volunteering in those situations…


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I somewhat agree but… If people are not happy they will walk. There are many in this organisation who are staying because it will be the cadets who will miss out if I leave.

It’s the same thing at a different point on the scale. Lacking trust in a person and faith in their ability to perform their duties is equally applicable - it’s just a different role.

That doesn’t reduce or dismiss the inherent danger and skill involved in crewing a lifeboat.