Provide: volunteer impact assessment

Document type
Donahue, Kim; Russell, Jennifer
Institute for Volunteering Research
Date of publication
1 March 2009
Social welfare
Material type

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Provide Student Volunteering at Queen Mary Students Union, University of London, commissioned IVR to assess the impact of its work and identify areas for development within the volunteering programme. The impact assessment included an online survey, three focus groups and background research. Data collection took place between January and March 2009.The research found that most students had volunteered before attending the university. The most commonly cited reasons for volunteering were to improve things or help people, to add to their CV, or to make friends. Community Action Days was the most popular type of volunteering.The research observed that volunteering directly develops the soft skills related to job-seeking and future employability such as communication skills, teamwork and social skills, but likely has a more indirect impact on specific job or technical skills or in areas such as earning potential. The key areas of strength that were highlighted relate to Provide's human resources, the flexibility and diversity of its services, the skills that are developed through volunteering, the associated social capital that is created from its activities and the actual volunteer projects themselves. The immediate challenges for Provide according to the research results are in relation to publicity, training for volunteers and additional capacity for projects and services. The research made a series of short, medium and long-term recommendations, including: effective publicity and promotion; partnership working; increasing the frequency and variety of volunteering opportunities; training; quality assurance; developing employability links; and enhancing course-related volunteering.

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