Key findings

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In the previous edition of Time Well Spent, released in June 2023, we discovered volunteer satisfaction has dropped since our first report in 2019. The original research also uncovered an evidence gap when it came to ethnicity.

As a result, we commissioned this research, which focuses on understanding the experiences and perspectives of people from the global majority. This is the term we use for ethnic groups except white British and other white groups.

This research is the first of its kind. The data tells an interesting perspective on how people from the global majority experience volunteering.

What we’ve learnt

We know overall volunteer satisfaction has fallen in recent years. This new research finds global majority volunteers feel even less satisfied, more excluded and less likely to continue volunteering compared with volunteers overall.

  • While the satisfaction of global majority volunteers is high, it is lower than volunteers overall (86% vs 92% satisfied).
  • Global majority volunteers are twice as likely to feel excluded compared with volunteers overall (12% vs 6%) and are less likely to feel a sense of belonging to the organisation (77% vs 84%).
  • Feelings of exclusion are particularly high among disabled global majority volunteers (21%). Younger and disabled volunteers from the global majority also report lower levels of satisfaction. This indicates there are additional intersectional barriers for different demographic groups within the global majority.
  • Just over two-thirds (69%) of global majority volunteers say they are likely to continue volunteering in the next 12 months, compared with 77% of volunteers overall.

But appetite for volunteering exists in the global majority. In fact, our research indicates that people from the global majority are more interested in volunteering than the overall population.

  • One in five (20%) global majority non-volunteers have looked into volunteering opportunities in the last year, compared to just 12% of non-volunteers overall.
  • Global majority non-volunteers are also more likely to be encouraged to volunteer than non-volunteers overall.
  • This indicates there is potential for further engagement.

To improve their experience, we need to make sure future volunteers from the global majority get what they’re looking for from volunteering roles.

  • Consider motivations: Global majority volunteers are most likely to be motivated by a cause that is important to them. They are over twice as likely to volunteer for a religious cause (21% vs 10%). As well as religious motivations, career-related benefits are a stronger motivation compared with volunteers overall (14% vs 9%).
  • Start the journey ‘right’: Global majority volunteers have higher expectations of the speed of the entry process. However, they are less likely to report a positive entry experience. Having a quick and easy entry process is also a factor more likely to encourage global majority non-volunteers to take up volunteering compared to non-volunteers overall (16% vs 10%).
  • Build belonging: A culture of trust and respect, recognition, and a sense of belonging are particularly important to people from the global majority. These factors influence overall satisfaction with volunteering.
  • Flexibility is key: The main barriers reported by global majority non-volunteers relate to time and commitment (‘not wanting to make an ongoing commitment’ being the highest at 28%). Flexibility is the main factor that would encourage global majority non-volunteers to start volunteering. The volunteering opportunities which appeal to global majority volunteers and non-volunteers most are those they can dip in and out of (35%) or one-off opportunities (34%).

Explore the research

Practical next steps you can take

We've compiled a list of practical implications for volunteering practice and policy.

This includes links to further help, guidance and advice for volunteer managers and practitioners.

We’ve also suggested changes we’d like to see implemented by government and policymakers as a result of the research.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 28 November 2023