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Social Mobility: Unleashing the Power of Volunteering

Kickstarting a New Volunteer Revolution - Social Mobility: Unleashing the Power of Volunteering is the second in a series of research-led reports in which Royal Voluntary Service, alongside leading volunteering experts, examines the future of volunteering.

The new Social Mobility report explores the potential for volunteering to improve life chances and employment prospects, and to provide a vital role in supporting the Covid recovery. It launches as Royal Voluntary Service sets out its commitment to focus on COVID recovery and to tackle health inequalities and social deprivation.

With the lifting of COVID restrictions underway, the new report highlights that this moment in time presents a unique opportunity to reset. Central to this reset moment is the report’s four-point Blueprint for Volunteering and Social Mobility, a set of guiding principles for voluntary sector organisations and charities, employers and other enablers to unleash volunteering’s superpowers for all:

1. Find and celebrate the double benefit

Voluntary action can and should benefit both the volunteer and the cause. Organisations should embrace this, providing and celebrating opportunities for volunteers to explore and develop.

2. Make sure EVERYONE can benefit

Those who stand to gain the most from volunteering are also the least likely to engage. Changing this will require building partnerships and positively working to recruit volunteers from under-represented groups.

3. Make pathways to employment clear and specific

For volunteers who are interested, organisations should provide clear and specific pathways to employment and skills that can be transferred into paid work.

4. Work in partnership

The relationship between volunteering and social mobility depends on volunteer-involving organisations, businesses and public sector bodies working together.

The Social Mobility report was informed by a literature review of recent findings around volunteering and social mobility, undertaken by independent voluntary sector research consultant, Kim Donahue, in December 2020.

The first report in the Kickstarting a new volunteer revolution series, First Timers, explored motivations for and barriers to first-time volunteering and made recommendations for ways to encourage more individuals to volunteer for the first time.

Social Mobility: Unleashing the Power of Volunteering was supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

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