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A Volunteering Picture

Posted: Thursday 26th June 2014 by Volunteering

Newlands Corner BioBlitzNewlands Corner BioBlitz © Katy Gower

Thank you to everyone who filled out the online survey. Volunteering within Surrey Wildlife Trust appears to be strong and healthy.

It is home to a large number of highly committed, passionate and active volunteers, many of whom stay involved for a long period. At the same time, it appears that there is a healthy turnover of new volunteers coming on board.


7% of respondents reported they volunteer more frequently than once a week, over a quarter (29%) volunteer at least once a week, 19% once a fortnight and 16% once a month, the remaining 29% volunteer less frequently.

The longest supporting respondent started 40 years ago

Many volunteers have been involved in the Trust for a long time. The longest supporting respondent started 40 years ago. 4% have volunteered for the Trust for 30 plus years, 5% for 20-25 years and 34% between 1-5 years. There is also a high number of relatively new volunteers, 31% volunteering for less than 1 year. This suggests a picture in which there is a loyal core of longer-term volunteers, with a substantial amount of experience, which is reinforced by new volunteers and fresh skills.

Evidence from the survey suggests that age diversity amongst volunteers is limited. Volunteers that completed the survey tended to be older, with 32% over the age of 55. This considerable resource of mature volunteers benefits the Trust as many of them offer skills which are lifetime-learnt. However the report reveals a lack of younger interest. The majority of 16-24 year olds were volunteering as part of their DofE scheme.

The motivations behind volunteering were largely altruistic, 125 respondents felt they wanted to make a difference to help protect the wildlife and countryside of Surrey. However different age groups had different motivations, for example younger volunteers seem to be more inclined to volunteer to acquire skills and for social reasons, whereas older volunteers seem to be more motivated by the desire to help.

Results demonstrate only a very small number currently join the Trust as a route to improve their employability.

Overall volunteers are extremely positive about the Trust. Volunteer support, supervision and communication were reported to be very good with most volunteers reflecting positively on this aspect. 48% of people who completed the survey said they were extremely likely to recommend the Trust to others as a place to volunteer, 38% quite likely and only one respondent saying that it is not at all likely.

30% of volunteers said they would like the Trust to recognise volunteer achievement through social events

The selflessness of volunteers is clearly shown within the survey results. 11% of volunteers stated that a simple thank you was all they wanted in recognition from the Trust and they did not want to receive anything in return. Nearly a third (30%) of volunteers said they would like the Trust to recognise volunteer achievement through social events. 16% of respondents selected loyalty points for SWT branded clothing and 14% thought that length of service badges were a good idea.

The evidence suggests that on the whole volunteers appear to be well managed and satisfied with the support and recognition that they receive.

However, if volunteering in Surrey Wildlife Trust is to thrive long into the future and remain relevant to society, the Trust needs to begin to move outside of its current comfort zone.

A number of recommendations have been made for the Trust to evaluate. To read the full report contact:

Claire Courtier

SWT Volunteer Development Officer

Read Volunteering's latest blog entries.


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