Charities 'fail to offer enough volunteering opportunities at Christmas'

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, says charities do not make use of the many people who want to volunteer over the festive period

Joe Saxton
Joe Saxton

Charities could be missing out on potential volunteers by not offering them enough opportunities at Christmas, according to the co-founder of the consultancy nfpSynergy.

Joe Saxton was commenting on a survey of 1,000 people by nfpSynergy in November which showed that 72 per cent of respondents did not plan to volunteer over Christmas. He said he thought this was partly because charities offered few well-publicised opportunities to volunteer in comparison with the many donations campaigns during the festive period.

The survey showed that of those who did plan to volunteer, 12 per cent were doing so for a charity, 9 per cent for a community organisation and a further 9 per cent for their church.

More than a third of those who planned to volunteer during the holidays were regular volunteers continuing with their work over Christmas, the research showed.

Just under a third said would do so because "Christmas is a time of giving". The same proportion – 32 per cent – said they had a personal connection to their chosen cause. Just under a quarter said they were volunteering because they had extra time in the holidays. The same percentage – 24 per cent – said they were motivated to volunteer by their religious beliefs and 17 per cent thought volunteering was a nice way to spend time with their family.

"Charities do a lot of fundraising over Christmas but they do not make much of volunteering at Christmas," said Saxton. "But our research says there is quite a large group of people who say they want to volunteer over Christmas. It is a logical time for volunteering, so why aren't charities making more of Christmas volunteering in the way they make more of Christmas giving?"

He said people often had spare time once Christmas Day was over and might also want to do things as a family, making it a good time for charities to offer volunteering opportunities for both individuals and for families.

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