Disabled global majority volunteers 'hardest hit' by sector’s lack of inclusion

Global majority volunteers with disabilities are almost four times as likely to feel excluded while working for charities, compared to all volunteers.

Research by NCVO has found that 21% of disabled global majority volunteers feel excluded amid concerns around a lack of inclusivity among charities’ volunteer workforces.

In contrast 6% of all volunteers feel excluded, twice as many as the 12% of all global majority volunteers hit hard by poor inclusion.

While 84% of volunteers feel a sense of belonging to their organisation, this dips to 77% among global majority volunteers.

Other groups to feel a lack of inclusion include young global majority volunteers.

“This indicates there are additional intersectional barriers for different demographic groups within the global majority,” said the NCVO.

A lack of inclusivity is hampering charities’ ability to retain global majority volunteers, warns its research.

It found that only 69% of global majority volunteers say they are likely to continue volunteering over the next 12 months, compared to 77% of volunteers overall.

Leadership problems

In August, Mark Upton, chief executive of My Vision Oxfordshire carried out a poll of charity leaders which found "the sector as a whole has an issue with class and privilege and is inherently ableist"

He said: "You would think disability charities would understand the importance of lived experience amongst leaders, but they don’t, it’s still very much a structure of abled people telling disabled people what they need and how they should live.”

Upton added that with “only around 7% of visually impaired people working in the sight loss sector, there is a long way to go”.

Improving diversity

The NCVO’s survey suggests charities need to improve their promotion of volunteering opportunities among all volunteers. It notes that one in five global majority non-volunteers have investigated volunteering compared to 12% of non-volunteers overall.

Charities are also urged to consider a wide range of motivations for volunteering. For examples, global majority volunteers are more than twice as likely than all volunteers to give up their time for a religious cause. They are also more likely to be motivated by career related benefits of volunteering.

Better entry processes are needed. A quick and easy method to becoming a volunteer is cited as a key factor in taking up a role by 16% of global majority volunteers compared to all those who volunteer.

Building “a culture of trust and respect, recognition, and a sense of belonging” is important to improve diversity in volunteer recruitment and retention.

Flexibility of roles is cited as a key motivation among around a third of volunteers and non-volunteers alike.

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