Volunteers should be involved in drafting charities' values statements, says report

Andrew Forrest, co-author of the Cass Business School report, says there is untapped potential in getting volunteers more involved

Andrew Forrest
Andrew Forrest

More charities should involve volunteers in drafting their organisation’s values statements, according to exploratory research published by Cass Business School.

The study, To Practise What We Preach: A Survey of Values in Charities, is based on a survey of senior staff and trustees from 133 charities with a combined total of more than 250,000 employees and volunteers. It asked them about values statements, which define the organisation’s principles.

Thirty-five of the 90 charities that responded to a question about who was involved in producing the statements said their volunteers had no involvement in drawing them up. Forty-two of the charities asked their volunteers to comment on the draft values, 15 said the volunteers helped to write the statements, 23 showed them the final draft. Some charities gave more than one reply to the question.

The report recommends that charities include volunteers and beneficiaries in consultations when writing their value statements. It says that senior managers should be the role models for the values and staff should share positive stories that show the difference values can make.

Andrew Forrest, co-author of the report and visiting fellow at Cass, said: "There is untapped potential in getting volunteers more involved in the creation of values – only one-third of charities involve them at the drafting stage and only one-third discuss with volunteers how to use them day to day."

The research was carried out because the authors had heard that charities might not be practising their values in their work.

But the report says that more than 80 per cent of employees discuss how they used values in day-to-day work.

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