A Better Offer: The future of volunteering in an ageing society

Aug 14, 2014 | REPORTS

This report examines the effect our ageing society may have on the future of volunteering, and the potential consequences for UK charities.

The Independent Commission on Voluntary Sector and Ageing, established by the think tanks NPC and ILC-UK, have produced the report A Better Offer: The future of volunteering in an ageing society. The report sends a warning to the charity sector, stating that action needs to be taken in order to harness the potential benefits of the ‘super boomer’ generation, or otherwise risk losing invaluable volunteering capital.

Older people in the UK currently contribute greatly to the voluntary sector, and as our population ages their contribution to charities could continue to grow; the value of volunteering by people over 50 is estimated by the Royal Voluntary Service to grow from £10bn to £15bn by 2020. However, the report warns that the UK’s demographic shift presents itself as both an opportunity and a challenge for the voluntary sector; whilst an ageing population results in a larger pool of retirees, charities must adapt in order to stop their voluntary workforce deserting them.

A Better Offer warns:
• UK charities urgently need to step-up preparations for the future – ‘without adapting, charities may find a large part of their voluntary workforce deserting them’.
• ‘Super boomers’ could be the next generation of charity volunteers, but face unprecedented pressure to work longer and care for their families, with childcare a major burden reducing the time available to help charities.
• With volunteering by older people currently valued at £10bn a year, charities face an uncertain future unless they make a more compelling offer to potential volunteers.
• New survey data shows that larger charities seem to be weathering the storm – for now.