Is this the future of volunteering?

Kathryn Shepherdson header

Recently Rob Jackson had a guest author on his well-known volunteer managers blog. Laura White talked about her experiences volunteering in Berlin and how easy she found it.

Some of the things which stood out for me were that she never felt guilty about not returning to the organisation. She was doing tasks which needed to happen, not doing a role for an organisation. Because of that, she continued to do more volunteering with loads of different organisations. Taking her skills, knowledge and experiences with her. There was never that idea she was a volunteer, more that she was ‘helping where needed’ but within the time and capacity she could offer. This allowed her to want to continue to do more in the community, maximising her offer within the VCS sector in Berlin.

Could this be the future of volunteering in Cambridgeshire? I think it could, and I think it should be, for I get why groups are so protective over their volunteers. A lot of work has gone into building that relationship, but if I was to say that if you promoted your roles in activity shifts instead, and you could double your current volunteer pool, would you believe me?

Yes, this was volunteering in a capital city, plus there was infrastructure support ( we are working on this) – but the type of volunteer she was doing was something we do offer as standard here in the UK.

The way people want to give their time has changed. It once was around giving a set period of the month to an organisation regularly. That has now changed, and people want to help their communities in ways which fit in with their time. They also are not so fussy about who they help just so they can see their impact. Look at the success of ParkRun as an example.

For volunteer led groups to move to this way of working will take one significant jump of confidence and a reshuffle of how volunteers engage, it won’t work for all, but most roles could move to shift work rather than commitment. Perhaps this is the start?

Click the link below to read Laura’s blog on the Rob Jackson blog.

A Break in Berlin – what I learnt from my volunteering sabbatical – Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd (

Help us improve our website