The volunteering sector has expressed its disappointment at the Guardian News & Media’s decision to stop offering free adverts for volunteering positions on its jobs site.
The publisher of The Guardian newspaper intends to stop advertising volunteering posts for free online from 1 July.
As of this morning, 1,242 of 13,947 jobs posted on the Guardian Jobs site were volunteering roles – with many of these being for multiple positions. There were 2,172 charity sector roles in total.
A spokeswoman for the publishing company said that the decision to stop running free online adverts came in response to "feedback from job-seekers searching for paid work within the charity sector".
She said that the some job-seekers looking for paid work were complaining that there were too many volunteering roles compared with paid positions, "which was affecting their experience in looking for paid work on the site".
The spokeswoman said the jobs site would continue to offer charities a discount on job adverts.
Rob Jackson, a volunteering consultant and Third Sector blogger, said the decision was a "huge shame because so many organisations rely on it".
He said The Guardian might have been able to solve the difficulties users experienced by improving the job site’s filtering system. "It seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater," he said.
The service would be particularly missed by charities based outside London, said Jackson, because it was especially useful for finding volunteers beyond the capital.
A volunteering manager for a national charity, who preferred to remain anonymous, criticised the way the change had been communicated, saying that one colleague received the news in a LinkedIn discussion and the other on Twitter.
He said: "Most volunteer managers are still in the dark about this change." He said that the communication from The Guardian had been "really poor on the matter".
Peter Horner, policy officer at the local infrastructure body Navca, said: "We are lucky to have a great network of local volunteer centres across the country that promote volunteering opportunities and provide advice and support to help people take up volunteering. They can also give local organisations advice on free and low-cost ways to recruit volunteers. This is a reminder of why we need to value these services."