Guest Blog: Charity CEO Reflections in Scotland During Week 10 of Lockdown

This guest blog is brought to you by Julie Hutchison from Aberdeen Standard Capital who summarises the key themes which emerged during ACOSVO's Week 8 CEO Check-In During COVID-19.

ACOSVO has been hosting weekly CEO zoom calls since the Covid-19 crisis took hold. Once again, I joined the call, which had a themed focus on volunteering.

 

Top down v grassroots volunteering

The discussion opened with a review of the community response to Covid-19, which has been huge. The comment was made that many of the thousands of people who registered to volunteer via the Ready Scotland website had not yet been deployed, as grassroots mutual aid was already underway and filling the gap first. It’s a reminder that existing community groups can often self-organise more quickly, as they know their own area better than organisations without those local relationships.

People are coming forward and wanting to help; the question is whether charities are ready to take on volunteers, as supply looks to exceed demand.

Who benefits from volunteering?

It’s interesting to explore – who gains from volunteering? One of the panellists talked about a range of benefits, which included the personal wellbeing boost for the volunteer, from which the by-product is ‘what gets done’. This is an area which others will have considered in more depth, but the societal benefits of altruistic action are in the mix too, and the local community benefit which comes from people being more involved in, and taking ownership of, what’s near to them. Lurking in this area is however the question of the extent to which volunteering replaces public services. As public finances are stretched, is volunteering plugging a gap, and for how long?

An at-home gap year – time to volunteer?

With one survey showing that 14% of prospective domestic students were considering deferring their university place to Autumn 2021, it’s an interesting point to consider – how will school leavers choose to spend their time in 2020/2021? Some might seek employment; others may be interested in a volunteering role. This could be a unique opportunity to engage a cohort of young people, many of whom may have been active in volunteering while at school and interested in new options.

Radio V – the weekly podcast about volunteering in Scotland

A new podcast was highlighted by one of the panellists. If you’re a podcast fan, you might like to have a listen to Radio V. https://www.volunteerscotland.net/covid-19/radio-v/ At time of writing, eight episodes of the podcast supported by Volunteer Scotland are available to listen to again, covering a whole range of volunteering themes.

Employer-supported volunteering

An overview was shared of the recently-launched platform Social Good Connect: https://socialgoodconnect.org/

This is a new search and match online platform which helps employees find a good volunteering match for their skills and experience. As some businesses start to adopt a formal Volunteering Leave policy, this may offer a route for more structured volunteering promoted and supported by employers.

Volunteers’ Week, 1st – 7th June

Since the week ahead is Volunteers’ Week, it seemed timely to end with the resources and information linked to it: https://www.volunteersweek.scot/

 

Aberdeen Standard Capital is a corporate partner of ACOSVO