RSPCA reports 85 per cent increase in volunteers in 12 months

The charity has doubled its volunteer base during the pandemic, with 4,800 people signing up to a microvolunteering programme

The RSPCA has reported an 85 per cent increase in volunteers over the past 12 months, with more than 16,000 people currently giving their time to the charity. 

The organisation said it has doubled its number of volunteers since the first national lockdown in March 2020. 

The RSPCA partly attributes the rise to its new microvolunteering programme, which allows volunteers to spend time completing quick digital tasks, such as carrying out research or promoting fundraising events.

Digital volunteering had contributed to a “surge” in volunteers since the start of the pandemic, it said, with 4,800 people involved in the programme. 

The microvolunteering programme has also created the charity’s youngest volunteer base, with 66 per cent of volunteers aged 35 or younger, and more than one-third under the age of 25. 

John Wilkins, head of volunteering at the RSPCA, said: “We’ve seen a real surge in volunteers since the start of the pandemic, which is just incredible to see, and a large part of that can be attributed to our digital volunteering.

“As more people have been spending time at home and were either furloughed or out of work, we have found that lots of people were trying their hand at microvolunteering for the RSPCA.” 

Microvolunteering appeals to people who don’t have much time, or find it difficult to physically volunteer at a centre or similar, Wilkins added. 

Collectively, the microvolunteers have completed more than 12,000 digital tasks, the RSPCA said. 

“During the pandemic, microvolunteering has enabled people who have had to pause their traditional volunteering roles due to government guidance or shielding to carry on supporting the RSPCA,” Wilkins said. 

“This has not only benefited the charity, but has also helped us to stay in contact with our volunteers and support their wellbeing needs.”

When asked how it plans to sustain the surge in volunteer numbers, a spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “We have an ambitious plan to recruit one million volunteers by 2030 to help us achieve our mission of helping animals in desperate need of care and preventing cruelty.” 

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