Publication - Statistics

Scotland's People Annual Report: Results from 2012 Scottish Household Survey

Published: 28 Aug 2013
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781782568582

A National Statistics publication for Scotland, providing reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics, behaviour and attitudes of Scottish households and adults across a number of topic areas including local government, neighbourhoods and transport.

203 page PDF

5.6 MB

203 page PDF

5.6 MB

Supporting files

Contents
Scotland's People Annual Report: Results from 2012 Scottish Household Survey
12 Volunteering

203 page PDF

5.6 MB

Supporting files

12 Volunteering

Introduction and Context

The Scottish Government recognises that volunteers of all ages form a valuable national resource, vital to the success of Scotland and that volunteering is a key component of strong communities. Volunteering is all about new experiences, feeling good and making a difference and it is important to recognise the benefits of volunteering, in terms of skills development, community empowerment and strengthening public services.

The definition of volunteering currently used by the Scottish Government 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, 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"[85]. This definition broadly encompasses 'formal volunteering' - where unpaid work is undertaken through an organisation, group or club to help other people or to help a cause (such as improving the environment). In contrast, 'informal volunteering' refers to unpaid help given as an individual directly to people who are not relatives.

The volunteering questions in the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) ask about providing unpaid help to organisations or groups, therefore the focus of this chapter is on formal volunteering. This chapter presents findings about the prevalence and frequency of volunteering, the type of organisations and activities for which individuals give up their time, hours spent volunteering in the past month, and reasons why people who volunteered in the past have now given up. A number of terms are used interchangeably to refer to volunteering throughout the chapter (e.g. unpaid help, unpaid work, unpaid activity and voluntary work).

Main Findings

  • Levels of volunteering have remained relatively stable over the last 5 years, with around three in ten adults providing unpaid help to organisations or groups. In 2012, 29% of adults provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months.
  • Levels of volunteering vary according to gender across all age groups. Overall, in 2012, more women (31%) than men (27%) volunteered in the last 12 months.
  • Levels of volunteering vary according to economic status with fewer people from lower socio-economic groups volunteering compared with higher income groups.
  • The type of organisations most commonly volunteered for are health, disability and social welfare organisations (22%), youth or children's organisations (20%) and local community or neighbourhood groups (18%).
  • Younger adults are more likely to work with children and young people and help with sporting activities, whilst older adults are more likely to volunteer with organisations working with elderly people and for religious organisations.
  • Half of the people who volunteer (50%) do so for between one and five hours per week.
  • Most people stop volunteering due to changes in their circumstances such as no longer having time (38%), due to illness (12%), they have moved house (11%) or had started paid employment (9%).

Providing Unpaid Help to organisations or Groups

Prevalence of providing unpaid help

Table 12.1 shows that 29% of adults have provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months. There is a small difference along gender lines with a slightly higher percentage of women (31%) saying that they provide unpaid help compared with men (27%). Figure 12.1 shows the trend in volunteering over the past 5 years. It can be seen that the overall rate of volunteering has remained relatively stable over the time period with the proportion of females being consistently higher than males.

Table 12.1: Whether provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by gender

Column percentages, 2012 data

Adults Male Female All
Yes 27 31 29
No 73 69 71
Total 100 100 100
Base 4,410 5,490 9,890

Figure 12.1: Percentage providing unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by gender

2008-2012 data, Adults (2012 base: 9,890 minimum base: 2,450)

Figure 12.1: Percentage providing unpaid help to organizations or groups in the last 12 months by gender

Figure 12.2 shows that the gender difference is true for all age groups. In 2012, the biggest difference between males and females was within the 35 to 44 age group, where a higher proportion of females (36%) volunteered than males (29%).

Volunteering is lowest among men aged 25 to 34 compared to all of the other age groups under the age of 75 with just under one quarter (24%) of men in this age group providing unpaid help. After the age of 75, providing unpaid help declines: 19% of men and 20% of women aged 75 and over have provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months.

Figure 12.2: Percentage providing unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by age within gender

2012 data, Adults (minimum base: 370)

Figure 12.2: Percentage providing unpaid help to organizations or groups in the last 12 months by age within gender

There is also variation in volunteering according to individuals' current economic situation (Table 12.2). Those who are 'self-employed' (40%) are most likely to provide unpaid help, followed by those in higher / further education (38%). Adults who are permanently sick or disabled (15%) are least likely to volunteer. Nearly one fifth (19%) of those unemployed and seeking work had volunteered in the previous 12 months.

Table 12.2: Whether provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by current economic situation

Column percentages, 2012 data

Adults Self -employed Full-time employ-ment Part-time employ-ment Looking after home / family Perma-nently retired from work Unem-ployed and seeking work Higher / further education Perma-nently sick or disabled All
Yes 40 28 33 29 27 19 38 15 29
No 60 72 67 71 73 81 62 85 71
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 580 3,140 1,020 480 3,200 490 310 510 9,890

Additional categories suppressed from table due to low base totals shows the prevalence of volunteering by level of deprivation, as defined using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). It can be seen that volunteering is lower for those in the 15% most deprived areas (19%) than in the rest of Scotland (31%).

Table 12.3: Whether provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

Column percentages, 2012 data

Adults 15% most deprived Rest of Scotland Scotland
Yes 19 31 29
No 81 69 71
Total 100 100 100
Base 1,400 8,490 9,890

Table 12.4 shows the differences in volunteering by household income band. It can be seen that in general the percentage of adults volunteering increases with income. Just over one-fifth (22%) of adults in households in net income bands £6,001-£15,000 volunteered in the last 12 months, compared to two-fifths (40%) of those with a net household income of more than £40,000.

Table 12.4: Whether provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by net annual household income

Column percentages, 2012 data

Adults £0 - £6,000 £6,001 - £10,000 £10,001 - £15,000 £15,001 - £20,000 £20,001 - £25,000 £25,001 - £30,000 £30,001 - £40,000 £40,001+ All
Yes 19 22 22 24 28 32 34 40 29
No 81 78 78 76 72 68 66 60 71
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 290 1,100 1,870 1,540 1,260 900 1,190 1,380 9,530

Household income in the SHS is that of the highest income householder and their partner only. Includes all adults for whom household income is known or has been imputed. Excludes refusals/don't know responses.

Overall, the results from 2012 looking at levels of volunteering by economic situation, household income and area deprivation support existing evidence about the under-representation of disadvantaged groups in volunteering.

Table 12.5 shows differences in volunteering by Urban Rural classification[86]. It can be seen that the rate of volunteering in rural areas is markedly higher than in urban areas, with 45% of adults in remote rural areas providing unpaid help to groups or organisations compared to 26% in large and other urban areas.

Table 12.5: Whether provided unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by Urban Rural Classification

Column percentages, 2012 data

Adults Large urban areas Other urban areas Accessible small towns Remote small towns Accessible rural Remote rural All
Yes 26 26 32 32 36 45 29
No 74 74 68 68 64 55 71
All 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 3,270 2,990 890 590 1,050 1,100 9,890

Frequency of help provided

As well as considering the prevalence of unpaid help it is also useful to consider the frequency with which volunteers undertake any unpaid work. Table 12.6 shows that 18% of those who provide unpaid help do so several times a week. Just under a quarter (24%) of volunteers provide unpaid help about once a week whereas 16% provide it a few times a year.

There was some variation in the frequency of volunteering between men and women, with a higher proportion of males (21%) than females (17%) volunteering several times a week, and a higher proportion of females (26%) than males (21%) volunteering about once a week.

Table 12.6: Frequency of unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by gender

Column percentages, 2012 data

Adults Male Female Scotland
Several times a week 21 17 18
About once a week 21 26 24
Less than once a week but at least once a month 16 19 18
Less than once a month but at least five or six times a year 12 9 10
A few times a year 15 16 16
Less often 6 6 6
No answer 8 7 8
All 100 100 100
Base 1,190 1,740 2,930

Figure 12.3 shows how the frequency of volunteering varies by area level deprivation. It can be seen that, although the proportion of volunteers in the 15% most deprived areas is lower than the rest of Scotland (Table 12.4), those who do volunteer in these areas do so more frequently than in the rest of Scotland (several times a week).

Figure 12.3: Frequency of unpaid help to organisations or groups in the last 12 months by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

2012 data, Adults (base 2,930)

Figure 12.3: Frequency of unpaid help to organizations or groups in the last 12 months by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

Types of unpaid help provided

This section explores the types of organisations that people help and the types of activities undertaken, as well as the total number of hours provided in the last four weeks.

Table 12.7 presents the types of organisations that adults who did voluntary work in the last 12 months provided unpaid help to. The most common types of organisations which volunteers helped with were those working with 'health, disability and social welfare' organisations (22%). This was followed by people who work with 'youth / children' (20%) and 'local community or neighborhood groups' (18%). The next most common types of volunteering were 'children's activities associated with school' (17%) and 'religious groups' (17%).

Table 12.7 also shows the variation in the types of organisations that adults are volunteering with by Urban Rural Classification. It can be seen that a higher percentage of adults in large urban areas (25%) provided unpaid help to 'Health, disability and social welfare' organisations compared to remote rural areas (16%). Conversely, over one-third (34%) of volunteers in remote rural areas provided unpaid help to 'Local community or neighbourhood' organisations and 24% provided help to 'Hobbies/recreation/arts/social' organisations, compared to 13% for each of these in large urban areas.

Table 12.7: Types of organisations or groups for which adults provided help for in the last 12 months by Urban Rural Classification

Percentages, 2012 data

Adults who did voluntary work in the last 12 months Large urban areas Other urban areas Accessible small towns Remote small towns Accessible rural Remote rural All
Health, disability and social welfare 25 23 19 20 20 16 22
Youth / children 17 19 19 32 23 25 20
Local community or neighbourhood groups 13 15 15 22 26 34 18
Children's activities associated with schools 16 18 18 27 15 21 17
Religious groups 16 18 16 24 13 18 17
Sport / exercise (coaching or organising) 11 18 19 15 16 16 15
Hobbies / recreation / arts / social clubs 13 10 16 27 17 24 15
The elderly 10 12 12 11 10 14 11
Citizens groups 5 3 4 9 6 8 5
Education for adults 4 3 4 6 4 5 4
Wildlife protection 3 2 5 4 8 7 4
Environmental protection 4 3 2 4 8 7 4
Safety, first aid 3 2 3 2 6 5 3
Justice and human rights 5 2 3 6 2 3 3
Domestic animal welfare 3 3 2 0 5 6 3
Political groups 2 1 2 2 2 2 2
Trade union activities 3 1 1 1 1 3 2
None 5 6 4 1 6 4 5
Dont know 0 1 0 0 1 1 0
Base 840 740 270 210 380 500 2,930

Columns may add to more than 100% since multiple responses were allowed.

Table 12.8 shows the types of organisations that adults volunteered with in the last 12 months by age. Providing help with 'Children's activities associated with schools' was most common among adults aged 35 to 44 (36%). Adults aged 16 to 24 were most likely to have volunteered with organisations working with 'Youth / children' or 'Health, disability and social welfare' (both 26%). Volunteering through 'Sport / exercise (coaching or organising)' also showed some differences by age, with 22% of adults aged 16 to 24 volunteering in sports compared to, at most, 16% across the other age groups. In contrast, volunteering for 'Religious groups' and organisations working with 'The elderly' tends to increase as adults get older. Of those adults aged 75 and over who volunteer, 37% did so with religious groups and 20% with organisations working with the elderly.

Table 12.8: Types of organisations or groups for which adults provided help for in the last 12 months by age

Percentages, 2012 data

Adults who did voluntary work in the last 12 months 16 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 59 60 to 74 75 plus All
Health, disability and social welfare 26 24 15 23 25 15 22
Youth / children 26 25 28 22 9 3 20
Local community or neighbourhood groups 17 11 17 19 24 20 18
Children's activities associated with schools 15 21 36 16 7 4 17
Religious groups 11 10 13 15 26 37 17
Sport / exercise (coaching or organising) 22 14 16 16 10 8 15
Hobbies / recreation / arts / social clubs 11 16 12 15 18 15 15
The elderly 7 5 8 11 19 20 11
Citizens groups 5 4 2 4 8 8 5
Education for adults 1 4 3 5 5 3 4
Wildlife protection 3 4 3 5 4 4 4
Environmental protection 3 4 4 5 5 3 4
Safety, first aid 6 3 4 4 1 0 3
Justice and human rights 4 5 3 3 3 2 3
Domestic animal welfare 3 4 3 4 2 2 3
Political groups 2 2 1 2 3 2 2
Trade union activities 1 2 3 2 0 1 2
None 5 3 6 4 6 9 5
Dont know 1 1 0 0 0 1 0
Base 230 390 520 770 770 250 2,930

Columns may add to more than 100% since multiple responses were allowed.

Table 12.9 shows the type of unpaid work or activities that respondents undertook on behalf of the group or organisation they gave most help to in the last 12 months. The most common unpaid activity undertaken was 'Generally helping out', with 43% of adults who volunteered doing this type of activity. In terms of more specific roles, 34% of adults helped by 'Raising money', whilst 31% helped to 'Organise or run events or activities'. Thirty per cent said they did 'Whatever is required'.

It can be seen that there are some differences between the types of activities by gender. For example, the proportion of females 'Generally helping out' was 45% compared to 40% of males, whereas the proportion 'Raising money' was 39% compared to 29% of males. Conversely, a higher proportion of males were involved in 'Education or training or coaching' (18%) compared to females (11%) and 'Managing, organising or co-ordinating other unpaid helpers' (10%) compared to females (7%).

Table 12.9: Types of unpaid activity adults have undertaken in the last 12 months by gender

Percentages, 2012 data

Adults who did voluntary work in the last 12 months Male Female All
Generally helping out 40 45 43
Raising money 29 39 34
Helping to organise or run events or activities 30 31 31
Doing whatever is required 28 31 30
Committee work 24 21 23
Providing advice or assistance to others 14 15 14
Education or training or coaching 18 11 14
Office work or administration 10 11 11
Visiting, buddying or befriending people 6 11 9
Providing transport or driving 8 6 7
Managing, organising or co-ordinating other unpaid helpers 10 7 8
Providing direct services (e.g. meals on wheels, doing odd jobs) 6 8 7
Campaigning 5 4 4
Counselling 4 4 4
Representing others 5 5 5
IT Support 5 1 3
Advocacy 2 2 2
No answer 0 0 0
Base 1,090 1,610 2,690

Columns may add to more than 100% since multiple responses were allowed.

Time spent volunteering

Respondents who had undertaken voluntary work in the last 12 months were asked the specific number of hours that they provided unpaid help in the last four weeks. Table 12.10 shows that 71% of volunteers in Scotland provided unpaid help for 10 hours or less, and that the half (50%) provided help for between one and 5 hours. It can be seen that the percentage of adults providing more than 20 hours of unpaid work a week was higher in the 15% most deprived areas than in the rest of Scotland.

Table 12.10: Total number of hours of unpaid work provided in the last four weeks by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

Column percentages, 2012 data

Adults who did voluntary work in the last 12 months 15% most deprived Rest of Scotland Scotland
Less than an hour 2 3 3
Between 1 and 5 hours 53 49 50
6 to 10 hours 11 19 18
11 to 15 hours 7 8 8
16 to 20 hours 7 9 8
21 to 35 hours 9 7 7
36 hours or more 11 5 6
All 100 100 100
Base 240 2,450 2,690

Further quality assurance has identified that the time adults spent doing voluntary work in table 12.10 was incorrectly formatted during data analysis.  This has resulted in the following errors:

1. The responses for ‘Less than an hour’ and ‘Don’t know’ have been combined into the single category ‘Less than an hour’.  This has resulted in the estimate of ‘Less than an hour’ being overestimated by 2 percentage points.

2. The category ‘Between 1 and 5’ hours should read ‘Between 0 and 5 hours’.

There are no plans to revise the affected table.

Reasons for stopping volunteering

Table 12.11 shows that of those respondents who said they had not given unpaid help to clubs or organisations in the last 12 months, 23% said they had nonetheless given unpaid help to an organisation or group previously. This figure has remained fairly constant in recent years, ranging between 23% and 27% of respondents since 2008.

Table 12.11: Adults not involved in volunteering but have previously volunteered

Column percentages, 2008-2012 data

Adults not involved in volunteering 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Yes 27 23 25 24 23
No 71 75 74 75 76
Don't know 1 1 1 1 1
Base 2,130 3,430 2,650 3,390 6,960

Table 12.12 shows that the majority of respondents stopped being involved in voluntary work or activities because of changes to their life circumstances, for example because they no longer had the time (38%), due to illness (12%), they moved house (11%) or had started paid employment (9%). There was little indication that people stopped volunteering due to anything the organisation they had volunteered for had done, or had failed to do: for example, only 1% said they had felt unappreciated and 2% felt things could have been better organised.

Table 12.12: Reasons why adults stopped providing unpaid help

Column percentages, 2012 data

Reasons for stopping unpaid help Male Female All
I didn't have the time any longer 38 37 38
Through illness 8 15 12
I moved house 11 11 11
I started paid employment 9 8 9
I had achieved what I wanted to achieve 7 3 5
I had children 4 5 5
I had new caring responsibilities 3 4 4
My circumstances changed (Please specify) 3 4 3
I got bored or lost interest 1 3 2
Things could have been better organised 3 1 2
I wanted a change 1 2 2
I didn't feel appreciated 2 1 1
It was costing me money 1 0 1
Other reasons (Please specify) 7 5 6
Base 700 1,000 1,690

Columns may add to more than 100% since multiple responses were allowed.

Correspondingly, when asked what might encourage them to undertake work or activities on a voluntary basis again in the future, the most common response (Table 12.13) was 'if it fitted in with my other commitments' (16%). This suggests that people are most likely to opt in or out of volunteering according to how much time they have to give to it, and the fit with other commitments in their life at the time. However, 5% of respondents said they might be encouraged to undertake unpaid work or activities again in the future 'if it fitted in with my interests and skills' or 'if someone asked me to do something', suggesting there may be potential to tailor more volunteering opportunities to the interests and skills individuals feel they have to offer or improve communication about the opportunities on offer.

Table 12.13: Reasons why adults may undertake unpaid work in the future

Column percentages, 2012 data

Reasons for undertaking unpaid work in the future Male Female All
If it fitted in with my other commitments 14 18 16
If someone asked me to do something 5 5 5
If it fitted in with my interests and skills 5 5 5
If I thought I could help others 4 4 4
If I knew more about the opportunities available 2 2 2
If it was good fun 2 2 2
If I could volunteer when I felt like it 2 2 2
If someone I knew volunteered with me 0 1 1
If there were more people like me volunteering 1 0 1
If it would improve my skills 1 1 1
If it helped me gain qualifications 1 1 1
If it would improve my career/job prospects 2 1 1
If I was certain that it wouldn't effect my benefits 0 0 0
If I was sure I wouldn't be out of pocket 0 0 0
If I had more confidence 0 0 0
No answer 56 52 54
Other (specify) 1 1 1
Don't know 12 10 11
Base 3,220 3,740 6,960

Columns may add to more than 100% since multiple responses were allowed.


Contact

Email: Nic Krzyzanowski