Volunteering after Covid, our three predictions

Covid will have a lasting impact on every sector and the third sector is no exception. We discuss 3 key changes to the world of volunteer management that we expect to see as the world begins to find a new normal.

Volunteer passport

Volunteer passporting is intended to be a national system to store registered volunteers and record key information about them. The aim is that volunteers with a passport would be able to work across organisations and sectors more seamlessly. This is an exciting prospect. There is a great deal of duplication of effort across charities who are managing their own registration processes for the same volunteers.

We do believe a system will be put in place but the question is how the uptake will look. If the passport can take into account just three factors and is widely adopted, it could be a significant milestone for the sector. Those three factors are:

  • Background checking and identity verification
  • Email references
  • Basic training

Most specialised charities and those servicing vulnerable people will no doubt require that their volunteers undergo further checks and training but this will still save a great deal of resources and represent a huge win for the sector.

Volunteer sharing

Sharing is tough. Charities worked hard to find and engage their volunteers so this one will feel like a bitter pill to swallow but it’s for the best!

Volunteers may have time and skill sets that could be extremely valuable to other organisations. This is beneficial to all organisations. Volunteers will benefit from a more diverse set of opportunities, they will feel a stronger sense of community and will be more likely to volunteer for longer. The organisations that do not see volunteers as their property will prosper.

Increasing use of digital

There is a windfall coming and digital will be the future for volunteering… Why might you ask?

  1. The general population has become more comfortable with technology. Over lockdown people have learned how to use video conferencing services, to bank online, to shop online and much more.
  1. Digital innovation in the charity sector is flourishing.
  1. Covid has demonstrated that organisations need to be able to be more nimble in response to spikes in demand and the need to deliver new programs at speed.
  1. The NHS responder scheme has demonstrated that volunteering can be done in a digital manner.

As proven in other sectors, the cost of new technology is paid back multiple times over by efficiencies gained and greater impact delivered. The organisations that take this opportunity to build for the future and adopt digital systems will be the ones to flourish.

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