Results of our Family Volunteering Survey

Over the past year we have identified an increasing level of community interest in family volunteering (adults and children together). This has come from families, employee groups, the media and others.

As one of VV’s roles is to identify emerging trends in volunteerism, we recently surveyed our 296 member agencies to learn more about family volunteering options.

We wanted to determine how many of our agencies currently engage families as volunteers, as well as identify agency capacity for engagement, perceived barriers, current practices / experience around family volunteering and interest in sharing learnings or learning more about family volunteering.

From the 78 agencies that responded to this survey we learned that:

46.6% (34 agencies) have volunteer opportunities that are open to families

Of those agencies that currently offer family volunteer opportunities, 26.3% (10 agencies) have no minimum age and close to 60% (22 agencies) have a minimum age of 10+ years.

Of those agencies that currently involve families as volunteers, 25% (10 agencies) have had 1 or less families volunteer over the past year, 37.5% (15 agencies) have had 2-5 families, 15% (6 agencies) have had 6 -10 families and 22.5% (9 agencies) have had more than 15 families.

34% (14 agencies) of the agencies who currently engage families are willing to share their experiences. For example, on a panel discussion around family volunteering.

66.7% (38 agencies) of those who do not currently engage volunteers would be interested in learning more about family volunteering.

63.8% (44 agencies) of those surveyed indicated that current volunteer positions might be adapted to provide opportunities for families.

The primary reasons that agencies gave for not including families as volunteers focused on timing – volunteer opportunities are on weekdays; nature of the agency’s work – vulnerable or at risk populations; safety, supervision and liability issues; and capacity – space, time investment and staff availability.

Some agencies, however, noted that they simply hadn’t thought of family volunteering.

Based on these findings, it appears there is both potential interest and available expertise to offer a panel session on family volunteering. We have also identified family volunteering as one of our target areas for volunteer engagement in the coming year. Stay tuned!

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