More than four out of 10 people who manage volunteers have not received any training, according to a report released today.
Despite identifying much good practice in volunteer management, the study by the Institute for Volunteering Research, called Valuing Volunteer Management, concluded it is undervalued and underfunded in many charities.
The report draws on responses from more than 1,000 volunteer managers at third sector organisations in England.
It said 42 per cent of people managing volunteers have not received any training that would help them to carry out that work. In organisations with more than 50 staff the figure was 20 per cent.
The report found 86 per cent of respondents would welcome extra training or skills development. However, volunteer managers were often unaware of how to access the training, advice and support available.
The report calls for greater policy focus on how people managing volunteers in small groups might be better supported, and further research to explore the trend of using volunteers to manage other unpaid staff.
The research was commissioned by training charity Skills – Third Sector.
Julie Wilkes, its chief executive, said the government’s big society agenda relied on civic action and volunteering. She said her organisation was drawing up a skills strategy prioritising creating "flexible and affordable learning opportunities" for volunteer managers.