Scottish Household Survey 2020

The SHS data provides a fascinating insight into the impact of COVID-19 on volunteering participation during 2020 and how it has changed since 2018. A number of demographic fields have also been cross-tabulated with formal and informal volunteering.

Average hours per volunteer are compared to the adult volunteering participation rate. The analysis challenges our current understanding of volunteer engagement and who contributes the most.

  • The adult total volunteering participation rate in Scotland increased from 48% in 2018 to 64% in 2020, a 16% increase.
  • However, the formal volunteering participation rate was unchanged at 26% in 2020; a figure which has remained constant for the last three years.
  • In contrast, informal volunteering participation increased by 20%, from 36% in 2018 to 56% in 2020.
  • All  types of informal volunteering activities increased in 2020, the largest increases being:
  • The 51% increase in ‘Keeping in touch with someone who is at risk of being lonely’, up from 18% in 2018 to 69% in 2020; and
  • The 39% increase in ‘Doing shopping, collecting pensions, collecting benefits or paying bills’, up from 12% in 2018 to 51% in 2020.

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