Why are we doing this?
Volunteering can make a measureable difference to people’s lives. Whether it’s spending an hour a week reading with a six-year-old, joining neighbours to plant trees at the local park, or being there with a patient when they eat their meal after surgery, impact volunteering represents a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of our society as a whole. We want to understand what more can be done to encourage many more volunteers who are aged fifty and older to give their time and energy regularly.
What are we doing?
The Join In Stay In Fund will award grants of up to £50,000 and significant non-financial support from a behavioural science evaluation partner, for organisations to undertake Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) to understand which interventions work best in retaining volunteers who are 50 and over following a large one-off volunteering event.
We are inviting expressions of interest from organisations who are already experienced in mobilising large numbers of volunteers, particularly those who are aged 50 and over, in impact volunteering roles.
We are looking to support eight to ten organisations from March 2017 to October 2017 to:
- Run a one-off impact volunteering event (on a single day) that draws in large numbers (at least 500 but ideally 750 to 1,000) of new volunteers aged 50 and over.
- Conduct RCTs to test one or two different retention approaches from the organisation’s norm to understand what is most effective in retaining volunteers who are 50 and over. This will involve being able to split the 500+ volunteers into two to three groups in a random way and conduct tests between May and October 2017.
- Monitor the take up of volunteering opportunities over a six-month period and analyse the data.
- Share the information on what works in retaining volunteers with others.
A behavioural science evaluation partner will be in place to work with organisations to develop and assess the impact made through different retention approaches.
The desired outcomes of the Fund will be a significant number of people giving their time and energy to help others, alongside public services, as well as new insights about what works in retaining volunteers who are 50 and over.
The deadline for submitting expressions of interest has now closed.
Following a selection process, the best applications from the EoI stage will be invited to a finalist event in London on 17 November 2016.
What are we looking for?
We are seeking applications from not-for-profit (e.g. local authorities and charities) or social purpose organisations (e.g. social enterprises) who already deliver impact volunteering activities that provide public benefit. Organisations must operate and deliver their volunteering activities in England.
You may be a local authority or hospital experienced in mobilising volunteers to work alongside existing staff, a charitable organisation with a national or regional reach, a local volunteering partnership or a well established social enterprise. In all cases your work with volunteers will achieve clear public benefit.
You may be most experienced in delivering one-off activities, or in delivering routine impact volunteering experiences. Ideally we are looking for organisations or partnerships that already do both, but the absence of one is not necessarily a barrier if you are well placed to complement your existing volunteer offer.
This Fund is about both mobilising large numbers (500 plus) of volunteers (aged 50+) and then conducting RCTs to test what techniques work best to retain them. The fund will therefore be well suited to organisations that have a reliable pipeline of volunteering opportunities, with established procedures in place for assessing impact, in addition to being able to attract new volunteers to a large one-off event.
The experiments (RCTs) chosen are likely to test how the existing barriers to retaining volunteers aged 50 and over can be overcome. We are interested in understanding the ideas you wish to test, and how these tests will complement, rather than replicate, the existing evidence base in this area.
You will receive expert advice from our behavioural science evaluation partner on the design and delivery of your RCTs, but organisations will also need to be able to demonstrate that they have the skills and infrastructure in place to effectively run the trials. For example, organisations should have reliable records on existing versus new volunteers, the age ranges of volunteers and a suitable volunteer database in place.
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