Volunteering for All: national framework

Our national outcomes framework for volunteering.

The Framework

Our Purpose:
To focus on creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Our Values:
We are a society which treats all of our people with kindness, dignity and compassion, respects the rule of law, and acts in an open and transparent way.

Volunteering for All

Volunteering for all

Our Vision is of a Scotland where everyone can volunteer, more often, and throughout their lives.

Volunteering is a choice undertaken of our own free will, a choice to give time or energy to get involved, help out and participate in our communities.

Volunteering contributes to our personal, community and national wellbeing.

Our Principles

Flexible and responsive

  • I can adjust my commitments or change my role when I need to.
  • I give my time on my own terms and around my life.
  • I know what I’m being asked to do and how to stop if I wish.

Case Study
Flexible and Responsive:
Volunteering for all Children’s Hospices Across Scotland

As an organisation which relies on volunteers, it’s critical that CHAS’ volunteering opportunities are flexible and fit with modern life. Our competition is not from other charities but from increasingly busy work loads and all the other exciting things that people can do in their spare time. If we are to compete then we must be creative and develop new and meaningful ways for people to get involved.

With that in mind we have started developing homebased roles that people can fit around their busy lives. Our team of volunteer researchers support CHAS by conducting research in to a wide range of subjects relevant to our mission. Assignments are posted on our digital communications platform and volunteers select an assignment of interest, conducting the research from their own computer at home.

We are also responsive to the skills that volunteers bring to the organisation. A volunteer with a passion for coding donates his time by coding a chat bot to interact with volunteers on our digital communications platform. He has brought new skills to the organisation and is sharing those skills with others.

Developing flexible volunteering opportunities is a priority for us as we want to inspire as many people as possible to get involved with CHAS. We understand that volunteering must compete with other attractive options for spending time so it’s critical that we make volunteering flexible and that we’re responsive to the needs of the modern volunteer.

Enabled and supported

  • I enjoy taking part and feel good about my contribution.
  • I receive practical help with expenses, access and training.
  • I know who to ask for help if I need it.
  • I understand why there are processes in place if required.

Case Study
Enabled and Supported
Fraser, whose volunteering is supported by ProjectScotland, a charity that
Volunteering for all helps young people aged 16-30 to get in life through volunteering

Fraser is a 23 year old from Glasgow who wanted to volunteer to increase his confidence and gain new skills to help him find a job. Fraser is partially sighted but is a keen advocate of not letting a visual impairment or disability get in the way of what you want to do.

Earlier this year, Fraser met with Emma, ProjectScotland’s Youth Engagement Manager, and together they decided a placement at Starter Packs would be just the thing to help him achieve his goals.

As the first day approached, naturally the nerves set in, but he didn’t let them stand in the way and came out the other side with a smile on his face: "I enjoyed my first full day and it just flew by! I was shown how to work on the tills and I didn’t think I would be able to do it. I was really nervous but I did it! It was great."

Fraser now volunteers for eight hours a week and receives support from ProjectScotland and from RNIB on his placement. Three months in and Fraser felt his confidence had increased and was really enjoying the role. It wasn’t just Fraser that noticed the difference, so did his colleagues, family and friends. Fraser advised that the placement gave him the opportunity to feel part of his local community, increase his self-esteem and awareness of what he was capable of.

Fraser has since extended his placement to further build on his confidence and skills. He explains more about his role: "Starter Packs help people who are homeless and are moving into their first house. We are helping them by providing basic household items. I think there are too many homeless people in Glasgow. I wanted to volunteer for Starter Packs as the work they do is so important. The charity relies on volunteers to help them support others and I have been here for 6 months now."

Fraser’s top words of advice for you:
"Just because you are visually impaired or have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t do something. If you are thinking about volunteering just try it!"

Sociable and connected

  • I can meet and spend time with people if I want to.
  • I enjoy the experience and feel part of something.
  • I volunteer with or for people with common objectives.

Case Study
Social and Connected
Brian Pegardo
Volunteering for all Volunteer, Creative Mornings Edinburgh

I have been volunteering at Creative Mornings Edinburgh since August 2017, for ten hours per month as a team member and speaker coach. I love volunteering for causes I believe in that give me opportunities to meet new people and become part of a community. More importantly, volunteering allows me to be creative and develop skills in a non-pressurised way. I have been volunteering since I was very young and in my family, volunteer work has always been regarded as highly as any other commitments.

The volunteer team at Creative Mornings Edinburgh is very organised– we communicate regularly, have team meetings and an annual retreat that allows us to plan for the future as well as clarify our roles. This honest and open approach means all of us feel our contributions are valued, and we can shift the focus of our work if we no longer find it fulfilling.

I know that the time I spend volunteering contributes to a monthly event that helps build communities, makes connections, inspires people and can help them with employment prospects. In Edinburgh, the creative community is thriving but also quite small – so Creative Mornings Edinburgh helps us support each other and feel refreshed with stories from creative people doing incredible things.

I also get to practice one of my passions – public speaking – and share my knowledge with others. I have met some remarkable people through the process and I love to see how confident our speakers are after they participate in a two-hour session with me before they give a talk at our events.

I have joined a community that has become a family for me in Edinburgh. The connections I’ve made through volunteering have provided me with lifelong friendships, people to turn to when I’m in need, given me ideas that challenge my own creative practice, and a serious sense of belonging in a city that often has a very transient population.

Valued and appreciated

  • I am valued for what I bring.
  • I feel that my contributions are appreciated.
  • I can see how volunteering fits with the wider organisational aims.

Case Study
Valued and Appreciated
Volunteering for all Bobath Scotland Cerebral Palsy Therapy Centre

Volunteers get involved in a wide range of activities from charity collections to events and blogging at Bobath Scotland. We can do so much more because of them and the volunteers with cerebral palsy (CP) are often our internal experts.

Listening to the volunteer to find to what they’re interested in and what suits their capabilities is critical to building a good relationship and an activity plan. This is particularly true when someone’s disability means the practicalities might just be a little more complicated.

Jill Clark joined Bobath Scotland as a volunteer three years ago, and is now employed as our Communications Assistant. Jill has cerebral palsy. The neurological condition means that she can’t walk or talk. It hasn’t hindered her ambition. Jill organises events for people with CP, and writes articles as well interviewing others. Her experiences and advice get more feedback than anything else Bobath Scotland publishes.

"I think anybody has the ability to get involved. Sometimes when people ask me what I do and I tell them they are shocked, as though I shouldn’t because I am disabled."

Being reliant on support workers to travel to the centre means volunteers rarely work a full day and are often subject to short notice changes. As managers we need to be flexible and have honest conversations about what both the organisation and the volunteer bring to each other. We have regular catch ups and do our best to have some social time too. Even a pizza can be a great way to says thanks for contributing. With the right equipment, flexibility and working together, people with CP are at the heart of our volunteer team.

Meaningful and Purposeful

  • I feel that what I do is worthwhile.
  • I know how I make a difference.
  • I am contributing to something that resonated with what matters to me.

Case Study
Meaningful and Purposeful
Volunteering for all Eddie, a Samaritans volunteer in Scotland

Years ago, my life suddenly took a very unexpected turn and confronted me with a situation that left me overwhelmed and not knowing where to turn or what to do. At the time, I felt entirely unable to share what was going on for me with anyone that I knew.

In the middle of the night, I reached out and made contact with Samaritans and found that there was someone who was there for me, who listened without judging and who provided me with time and emotional space for me to begin to find my own way forward. That encounter always felt pivotal for me in finding my own way out of that very dark time.

Seven years ago, in a very different frame of mind, I began training as a Samaritans Listening Volunteer. I know, both from the perspective of someone who was himself listened to and as someone who now listens as a Samaritan volunteer, how powerful the act of listening with empathy and without judging can be. It can help simply to get through the next minutes or hours and, sometimes, it can help someone to find a way to make a much more transformative change. It feels a privilege to be part of group of volunteers who provide a service, night and day, every day of the year, offering presence and human connection to individuals who need a safe, confidential space to talk. I know from my own experience the difference that this can make.

Recognises diversity

  • I feel ‘volunteering’ or being a ‘volunteer’ is something I can be involved in or be.
  • I do not feel excluded from roles because of who I am.
  • I feel like my knowledge, skills and experiences are respected and utilised.

Case Study
Recognises Diversity:
Fiona Dickens – Service User to Volunteer supporting
Volunteering for all the road to recovery

Fiona Dickens had a stroke 9 years ago on New Years Eve which reduced her mobility and ability to talk.

However one thing the stroke didn’t change, was her passion to help others.

Fiona worked hard to overcome challenges to regaining her speech with the help of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s communication support service and whilst she continues to live with aphasia, she now volunteers with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland ensuring that she can help others like her to live a full life.

As well as volunteering in one of the CHSS Charity shops, Fiona supports people with communication difficulties by providing one-to-one and group support, as well as being a regular speaker and supporter on behalf of the charity. Fiona’s first-hand experience of life following a stroke means that she is able to provide incredible insight, support and passion to members of our peer support groups in her local area.

Speaking of her time volunteering Fiona said "I do all this not for myself but for everyone who has lived through a stroke to highlight that there is a life at the other side of it! Life would be very boring if I didn’t have CHSS. I would have felt more isolated and certainly had a lot less to do! For me, CHSS got involved and stayed involved".

Our Outcomes

Volunteering and participation is valued, supported and enabled from the earliest possible age and throughout life.

Volunteering in all its forms is integrated and recognised in our lives through national and local policy.

There is an environment and culture which celebrates volunteers and volunteering and all of its benefits.

The places and spaces where we volunteer are developed, supported and sustained.

There are diverse, quality and inclusive opportunities for everyone to get involved and stay involved.

Towards Volunteering For All: Recommendations And Implementation

Opening up volunteering opportunities will require planned and coordinated action and investment across all sectors and by multiple partners to tackle barriers and build new approaches.

As we’ve shown throughout this document, leaders across our communities and in the third sector, in national and local government, across the public sector and in businesses are already taking action.  But more is needed.  

The Scottish Government will:

  • Support action by communities and by those across the third, private and public sectors, championing the principles and values set out in the framework, and supporting its implementation across all policy areas.  
  • Progress our existing work to shape a prioritised Delivery Plan for this Framework, along with developing a performance framework with clear and measurable indicators so that we can understand progress and review interventions and approaches accordingly.

We expect that Delivery Plan to take into account the specific recommendations of the National Youth Volunteering Improvement Project[35], and to build on the recommendations below:

Leadership bodies across the third sector, including Volunteer Scotland, SCVO and Third Sector Interfaces, should:

  • Promote the value of volunteering for all principles and approaches, celebrating the contributions already being made and encouraging everyone who wants to take part.
  • Provide practical guidance and support on Volunteering for All.

Local Authorities should:

Develop strategies with public sector partners to support volunteering and community involvement, working collaboratively with people to help sustain vital local infrastructure such as transport, and meeting places.

Funders should:

  • Recognise the value of all forms of volunteering as a means of promoting individual and community wellbeing, funding opportunities to engage in a range of ways with models to suit smaller and less formal organisations.
  • Adopt the principles of Volunteering for All by building into funding criteria and encouraging applicants to cover costs in proposals.  Further advice is available in our Invest for Success guidance.[36]

VIOs across the public, private and third sectors should:

  • Adopt the principles of Volunteering for All in volunteer practice, reviewing their existing processes and guidelines.
  • Consider ongoing opportunities to measure the impact of their work, on volunteers, beneficiaries, staff and the wider community.[37]
  • Build links with and across communities, seeking opportunities to share resources and expertise.
  • Prepare for future volunteer recruitment, being mindful of the changing contexts in which they operate.

Businesses and employers should:

  • Promote volunteering to staff, applying the principles to their own workplace volunteering programmes and encouraging people to think about volunteering as part of their personal development.
  • Support flexible working practices that permit people to volunteer around their existing work and life.
  • Act as a catalyst for community led volunteering initiatives which foster community engagement locally.
  • Share resources to support and enable volunteering to grow in the communities they work in, for example by allowing organisations to use premises and lending staff time and expertise.

NHS Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships should:

  • Work consistently and collectively to ensure robust systems are in place to support safe, effective and person centred volunteering, engaging with the Clear Pathway Guidance[38] and Volunteering in NHSScotland Programme[39] as required.
  • Highlight and encourage best practice in relation to the governance and associated management standards required for all volunteers and others who have a role to play within NHS settings, regardless of the source of recruitment.


Email: helen.webster@gov.scot

Back to top