Volunteers are more than just numbers; way more than just numbers, in fact, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take the time to acknowledge their achievements and the great work that these people do. After all, so much time and effort is devoted to selflessly helping others! These successes, that can be seen across the globe, and are quantified in the form of statistics. The great thing about stats is that you can really see just how vital and irreplaceable volunteers are! Whether it’s helping out in the local charity shop or being an overseas volunteer in Africa, we want to help celebrate how important these roles have become to those who most need their assistance by sharing this type of information for all to see.
How many volunteers do you think there are on Earth? According to The International Labour Organization’s Department of Statistics, they estimate that the number of volunteers placed worldwide is no fewer than 970 million!
Citing a study published by John Hopkins University, if we convert the number of volunteers into the hours that they give for free, it works out to be the equivalent of more than 125 million full-time workers! It is believed from research that approximately one in four volunteers donate their skills and time via charity organisations. When we consider the economic impact, the value of volunteer work is considered to be a staggering 2.4% of the entire global economy!
Another survey, which was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), and involved no less than 10,103 people aged over 18 – making it the biggest poll on the subject in more than a decade – gave us some amazing statistics.
From those who took part in the survey, an overwhelming 77% stated that volunteering had enhanced their mental health, while 53% said it had boosted their physical health.
The younger generation was shown to be the most likely to give plaudits to volunteering for helping them to overcome isolation. In fact, 77% of 18 to 24-year-olds agreed with this statement, compared with 76% of 25 to 34-year-olds and 68% of all ages.
Speaking about the results and what they mean, Karl Wilding, NCVO’s policy and volunteering director said: “There is an emerging body of evidence that suggests volunteering can improve your mental health and the language I have read is that it can help with depression, life satisfaction and wellbeing.”
“Broadly speaking, it helps as it is a social activity, and when you are doing things with others and groups that conviviality and connectedness is important,” Mr Wilding said, adding that volunteering is most valuable or beneficial to those who didn’t have a job or a partner.
Back to the NCVO survey, and more statistics were revealed, such as; 69% of respondents explaining that they had volunteered at some point in their life, with 38% doing this in the past 12 months. This can be compared to more than 20 million people from the UK’s adult population having given their time at some point in the year to do some type of volunteer work.
Wilding added that in NCVO’s study, the one thing that took him by surprise was that a greater number of 18 to 24-year-olds found volunteering a good way of reducing feelings of isolation.
“For me, that is at the heart of what do we do next. Essentially, if you have a cohort of the population who people feel concerned about in terms of connectedness… that strikes me as a real solution,” he said.
The report also discovered that, overall, 74% of people agreed that volunteering served them with a feeling of increased confidence, and this figure rose to 84% among 18 to 24-year-olds. Not only this but, 71% stated they felt they’d gained new experience and skills, with this figure rising to 85% among the 18 to 24-year-old respondents. A conclusive 96% said they were pleased with their experience too.
When asked about the results of the research, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, commented: “Volunteering can be truly transformative for people’s lives. It reduces isolation, improves confidence provides new experiences, improves employment prospects and fundamentally it’s deeply rewarding.”
After reading about the incredible benefits that volunteering has on those being assisted and those who volunteer does this make you want to sign up for a programme or do some kind of charity work? We’d love to give as many people as possible the chance to enjoy our overseas volunteering programmes, so why not take a look and see which one is best for you?
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