The Barriers to Volunteering 2019

How To Combat Barriers To Volunteering In 2019

In a recent survey conducted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, those who didn’t volunteer regularly were asked what the main barriers to volunteering were. We consider some of these reasons not to volunteer and look at how your charity could help turn these around and get more people on board.

Barriers to Volunteering

I have work commitments

There are several workplaces who offer paid time off for volunteering, so a great step would be to find out if there are any of these in your area or even reach out to local companies to find out if this is something they would consider. You could even ask them to let their employees know that you have upcoming projects requiring volunteers; many local businesses are happy to help within their own communities.

Having prior work commitments is a commonly given barrier to volunteering, yet many employees allow paid time off for volunteering.

I do other things with my spare time

A misconception about volunteering is that it consumes your spare time that could be spent on activities you enjoy. Whilst hobbies and socialising are great, many people are willing to make time for something which they truly believe in. If someone can’t spare time for volunteering, why not change tact and encourage them to turn their hobby into a sponsorship opportunity? For example, reach out to local runners looking for a charity to run their next marathon for.

I have to look after children/the home

Having young children can be a real obstacle for volunteering, for parents of older children, you could target these with child-friendly volunteer opportunities where they can bring the kids along and educate them on the benefits of helping others at the same time.  This could be through things like beach clean-ups and residential gardening. If you need volunteers for an event, consider providing a safe nursery area so parents can bring young children with the peace of mind they will be looked after.

Having to care for children / the home is often one of the barriers to volunteering and can contribute to reasons for leaving volunteer work.

I have never thought about it

This is one of the commonly cited reasons not to volunteer and an easy one to overcome since the reason they’ve never thought about it is that the opportunity hasn’t been presented to them. Consider getting together with other charities to implement volunteer awareness days in schools, colleges and universities.

I don’t know any groups that need help

It can be hard to know where to look when it comes to finding the perfect charity to donate your time to, which is why you need to make your charity known and make it clear why you need help. Ensure you advertise on local volunteer sites and keep this up to date. Think about reaching out to your local press to do a story on your charity.  The more exposure you get, the more people will know that you need help, and when the time comes for them to seek out volunteering opportunities, they will think of your organisation.

Commonly cited reasons not to volunteer include not knowing where to donate your time.

Be flexible

Being flexible is often one of the largest reasons not to volunteer. Whilst you need some level of commitment from your volunteers, try to be as flexible as you can when it comes to how many hours they volunteer a week. They’re donating their spare time, so you don’t want to make it feel like a work shift as this could put a lot of potential volunteers off. Encourage them to tell you of any changes to their usual routine in advance without putting them off. Many volunteers leave their post because they have other commitments and can’t put in the hours the charity stipulates.

Flexibility is one of the largest barriers to volunteering.


You may now know some of the barriers to volunteering, however It can be tricky knowing what insurance you need for your latest recruits, which is where we can help. To find out if your insurance properly covers your charity, get in touch today on 0800 877 8277 for a no obligation review of your existing insurance policy or alternatively request-a-quote and we’ll call back at a time that suits you!

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