Volunteering levels among the younger generations are increasing, but falling among middle-aged people, new figures from the consultancy nfpSynergy show.
Its latest statistics on volunteering, based on surveys involving thousands of people since 2004, the consultancy says that the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who volunteer has increased significantly over the past 13 years, rising from 15 per cent participation to 29 per cent in August this year.
The research shows that there has been a similar rise in the proportion of 25 to 34-year-olds volunteering over the same period, with 26 per cent of respondents to the most recent survey saying they had volunteered over the previous three months, up from 14 per cent in 2004.
The research shows that volunteering rates peaked at 33 per cent among 16 to 24-year-olds in 2013/14, but the rates for 25 to 34-year-olds are doing so now. According to nfpSynergy, this might show that people who volunteered at school and university are continuing those habits as they get older.
The figures show that 16 to 34-year-old men are now one of the most likely groups to volunteer, closely followed by women of the same age.
But volunteering rates appear to be falling among 45 to 54-year-olds and 55 to 64-year-olds, the figures show. In 2012, 20 per cent of 45 to 54-year-olds volunteered, as did 22 per cent of 55 to 64-year-olds, according to nfpSynergy.
This fell to 14 per cent of 45 to 54-year-olds and 15 per cent of 55 to 64-year-olds, according to the most recent research in August.
Both of these age groups have not been targeted with any major initiatives to increase volunteering rates, which nfpSynergy said could be contributing to the decline in volunteering.
The gap in volunteering rates between men and women has closed significantly in recent years, with increases in the proportion of men volunteering over the past 13 years.
Overall volunteering rates have remained generally stable at around 20 per cent, the figures show.
Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said he did not think the National Citizen Service, which includes an element of community work, was responsible for the rise in volunteering rates among younger people.
He said schools and universities were better at encouraging people to volunteer and it was a more important part of building a CV than it used to be.