The Year Ahead: 2016 What To Expect - Volunteering

Legislation still some way off after Conservative pledge for staff in large companies to be given three days' volunteering leave

Jamie Ward-Smith
Jamie Ward-Smith

Volunteering received an unexpected boost ahead of the general election in 2015 when the Conservatives pledged to give staff working for large employers three days' volunteering leave.

Once the party was in government, however, things became quieter. The new year should bring further clarity about the proposal, but Justin Davis Smith, executive director of volunteering at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, says any legislation is some way off.

Volunteering has been slower to embrace digital technology than other specialisms such as fundraising and campaigning, but this could change in 2016, according to Anoop Maini, director of the Association of Volunteer Managers. He says we should expect to see more charities offering people the chance to contribute their time online, and increased use of digital technology for the recruitment and management of volunteers.

More companies, including O2 and Facebook, now promote volunteering to customers. Jamie Ward-Smith, chief executive of the volunteering website Do-it Trust, believes it is a trend that will continue as more of them see the benefits.

BBC Radio1 and 1Xtra are planning a season of programmes in 2016 about volunteering, aimed at younger people. The expansion of the government-funded programme the National Citizen Service, and initiatives such as Step Up to Serve, should encourage more, younger volunteers. Do-it's Ward-Smith says that the government's plan to allow councils to introduce a 2 per cent social care levy could also open up new opportunities for volunteering.

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