Volunteering at Christmas has real potential for growth, say new research

Charities could be missing out on potential volunteers over Christmas, new research suggests.

Over a quarter of people saying they are planning some Yuletide volunteering this year, with many motivated by the festive spirit and ‘extra time provided by the holidays’.

The survey of 1000 adults, carried out by research consultancy nfpSynergy, shows that 28% of British people intend to volunteer over the Christmas period.

Charities look likely to be the biggest recipients of Christmas volunteers, with 12% of them saying that’s where they will be donating time.

This is 3% higher than those who say they will volunteer for Churches or community-based organisations.

The nationally representative poll also reveals that a third of people who want to volunteer at Christmas time do so because they see it as ‘a time of a giving and want to get into the festive spirit.’

The extra time people have over the holidays is another big factor, with a quarter of volunteers giving this as one of their reasons.

The young feature prominently among those intending to give their time, with 25% aged between 16 and 24.

The most likely group to volunteer are 25-34 year olds (29%), beating those traditionally most likely, the over 65 year olds (21%).

The research found:

More than a quarter of people (28%) plan to volunteer over the Christmas period this year

Charities are set to be the biggest recipients of Christmas volunteering time (12%), ahead of Churches and community organisations (both 9%)

The most popular reason for volunteering is existing volunteers carrying on over Christmas, but only a third of people said this (36%)

Other major motivations included a third of people (32%) who feel Christmas is a time of giving and ‘want to get into the festive spirit’

A quarter of Christmas volunteers say that the holidays give them more time to volunteer

A quarter of those intending to volunteer are young people aged 16-24, slightly higher than the 22% who are over 65. The group most likely to volunteer were 25-34 year olds at 29%

nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said: "Many charities already exploit the festive season’s potential as a time to give money. We think this research suggests that there is plenty of opportunity for charities to make Christmas a time to volunteer as well.

"People having more time for volunteering over the Christmas holidays makes a lot of intuitive sense. It’s disappointing perhaps that up until now charities haven’t been doing more to capitalise on people being more available over the holidays."

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