Families and volunteering: An evidence-based framework for volunteer-involving organisations

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We would like to thank all the people who have been involved in this research project. We are particularly indebted to our five case studies organisations, their staff, volunteers and wider family members: Kids Run Free, Little Village, St John Ambulance, St Mary’s church, Wendover and The Whitworth. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting and working with you, and we are very grateful to you for sharing your stories and experiences so openly and honestly. Thank you.

We are also particularly grateful to our funders: Sport England, the Greater London Authority (Team London), Pears #iwill Fund and the Scouts. Without your support – both financial and intellectual – this project would not have been possible.


Who is this framework for?

This framework is for anyone interested in the involvement of families in volunteering in their organisation.

How can this framework help you?

This framework will help you to reflect on how your organisation currently involves families in volunteering and how you could develop this in the future.

Drawing on the findings from our research, we provide a series of questions to help you think through your approach and some practical ideas for developing family-friendly volunteering.

How did we develop this framework?

The framework is based on a programme of research carried out by NCVO, in partnership with the University of Birmingham and the University of Salford. The research brings together evidence on the relationship between family and volunteering and captures the experiences of organisations and families through mapping activities, interviews, focus groups and observations. It draws on examples of practice from case study organisations that involve families in volunteering.

You can read about our findings in more detail in the full research report and summary report. More information on our research approach can be found page on page 23.

Timeline of approach for research report

Key questions

This framework is to help you develop or enhance family volunteering in your organisation and consists of seven core questions on the things you need to consider to see how this might work in the context of your organisation.

The key questions for you to reflect on are as follows.

  • Question 1: How do families currently engage with your organisation?
  • Question 2: How do you want to involve families and what approach to family volunteering is right for you?
  • Question 3: Can you enhance the volunteering pathways for families within your organisation?
  • Question 4: Can you do more to help families balance volunteering with family life?
  • Question 5: How can you ensure that family volunteering is as inclusive as possible?
  • Question 6: How does the balance you are striking between risk management and being inclusive affect the involvement of families in volunteering?
  • Question 7: How can you help to ensure that families, and your organisation, get the most out of volunteering?

A summary of the framework can be found on page 18.

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 14 September 2022