Making your volunteering more inclusive – why bother?

23 September 2019

To mark National Inclusion Week we asked Brian Scott of Glasgow Disability Alliance to share his views on inclusive volunteering.

GDAWhy would you want to make your volunteering more inclusive? What are the benefits to volunteer managers and to volunteer involving organisations if they commit to being more inclusive in their recruitment and support of under-represented groups? It’s worth thinking about these questions before taking action as there needs to be buy-in from everyone in the organisation.

There are well documented examples and there is compelling evidence that having a diverse group of volunteers directly benefits an organisation. So, how can your organisation benefit?

  • Recruitment – opening up your volunteering opportunities to a wider and more diverse mix of talent can help you with recruitment and address skills shortages.
  • Retention – volunteers in an inclusive organisation feel valued and confident and want to stay.
  • Service Users – having diversity in your team of volunteers may give you insights into service users/customers perspectives and help you better engage with people.
  • Culture – diverse teams are more dynamic and creative with new ways of seeing things and new approaches to problem solving.

It is for these reasons that the Scottish Government is working with partners and stakeholders, including volunteer involving organisations, to implement a national framework for volunteering – Volunteering for All. This framework articulates the commitment –

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

OK, so you have been convinced – how do you actually make your volunteering more inclusive? The good news is that there is already learning and best practice that you can turn to. The National Inclusion in Volunteering Group coordinated by Volunteer Scotland has produced a series of Top Tips for Inclusion.

These practical suggestions – from organisations that demonstrate best practice in inclusive volunteering – give some great examples of how to engage with and recruit particular under-represented groups such as disabled people or those experiencing poverty.

If your organisation is committed to making your volunteering more inclusive there is no better place to start!