Volunteering Introduction

Probably one of the best definitions of volunteering comes from Scottish Government:

‘Volunteering is the giving of time and energy through a third party, which can bring measurable benefits to the volunteer, individual beneficiaries, groups and organisations, communities, the environment and society at large. It is a choice undertaken of one’s own free will and is not motivated primarily for financial gain or for a wage or salary.’

Scottish Voluntary Sector Statistics 2010 (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations) reveal just how important volunteering is to the population and economy of Scotland:

  • between 2008-2009, an estimated 1.2 million adults were active in volunteering in Scotland

  • these volunteers contributed over 131 million hours per annum of their time

  • volunteering in Scotland is worth an estimated £2.1 billion to the Scottish economy

Volunteers - people giving freely of their time to drive forward and provide vital services and activities – are central to not only the Third Sector but the public sector as well. A large percentage of small groups and organisations are run entirely by volunteers, and every community group, club, charity, social enterprise, - large or small - will include volunteers at committee or board level, even where paid staff manage the day to day running of services or activities.

Volunteering welcomes all kinds of people, celebrating their skills, experiences, and diversity along with their unique and individual contributions.

This section of the Community Toolkit will help your community group or organisation to:

  • form a structure that enhances your ability to involve volunteers

  • recognise volunteer support needs

  • recruit effectively

  • resolve challenges safely

The information in this section has been provided by Volunteer Centre Edinburgh.