“We cannot do it without you” – the impact of volunteers in U.K. hospices

Hospices and hospice volunteering in the U.K. are undergoing significant change. It is important that the role and impact of volunteering on such organisations is understood if the planning of, and approach to, future services are to be both holistic and effective. This paper gives a brief overview of a research study that explored volunteering from a strategic perspective and considered its impact on a number of key organisational viability factors. The findings gained from respondents (trustees, senior staff and volunteers) indicate that volunteers are understood to be a key strategic resource and to be important in helping organisations to achieve their goals. Volunteers, however, were not always involved in contributing to strategy development and there was little evidence of planning for volunteer involvement. While respondents agreed that most hospice trustees are volunteers, there was little recognition of the significant responsibilities of volunteers in organisational governance. Although trustees indicated that they had an effective level of engagement both with volunteers and with staff, the perceptions of staff and volunteers indicated otherwise.

Reference:  Scott R. “We cannot do it without you” – the impact of volunteers on UK hospices. European Journal of Palliative Care. 2015; 22(2):80-83.

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