Event Volunteering: The rise, fall and reignition?
18th November 2022
With the cost of living continuing to rise, will it always be inevitable that volunteering will decline? With extra jobs and less free time, businesses need to change and adapt to the new climate. Here’s how…
Increase your knowledge, reduce your time: heres 5 top tips to help you, and to take away into your managerial world.
A pillar of the Event Industry
Worldwide, volunteering has reached 1 billion people, with this labor being equal to the use of over 109 million full-time workers. The impact that volunteering has played within the industry for events cannot take place without the support from these volunteers. Glastonbury, for example, one of the UK’s largest music festivals, has an intake of 3000 volunteers each year in comparison to around 100 paid positions.
So why exactly are volunteers significant within the events industry?
One major impact of the use of volunteers is the economic effect, as they are content to work for small incentives in comparison to large pay checks. Glastonbury volunteers will receive free festival entry for the labor of just three shifts, motivating individuals to want to take part.
Involving volunteers can bring innovative ideas, skills, and experience to the event that may not have been implemented. Creativity allows people to think differently about how an event runs, seizing opportunities within current society and showing just how volunteers can bring more value to the function than just the expenses that they incur.
The cost of existing on the rise
One of the factors that has contributed to growing inflation is the price of consumer products, which has been caused by strong demand from customers as well as bottlenecks in the supply chain. Another key factor contributing to inflation is the cost of energy, which is reflected, among other things, in the rising housing energy tariffs and petrol prices around the country. Because of this, people’s disposable earnings have diminished; over 1/5 of UK households have an average of £60 of spending money left over after bills and food shopping, the lowest amount in the past 5 years, which has had a significant negative effect on volunteering.
During this ever-increasing squeeze, more and more people are claiming expenses back, such as fuel mileage, in order to continue to afford being a volunteer, driving up the price for organisations and inevitably costing them more money than it’s worth. Volunteering could be damaged if companies start refusing to compensate volunteers for things like transportation, housing, and food. If people are going to lose a substantial amount of money, they will likely opt to cease volunteering in order to be able to sustain a livelihood.
Are businesses in trouble?
As the cost of living continues to rise, businesses operations have been significantly impacted.
It is said that volunteering is free but not cost-free; therefore, it has declined by 17% between 2019-2020. Most businesses do not offer a monetary incentive, so individuals do not want to spend their time on something that may cost them more money than it provides. Businesses must now recognise that reimbursing people is more important than ever for them to feel appreciated and a part of something bigger.
Volunteers are now claiming reimbursement for their travel, food, and uniform. If they are denied reimbursement, they will no longer volunteer. This is somewhat contentious because it is argued that volunteers add more value than money.
Some businesses choose not to do this as rising costs cause suppliers and contractors to raise their rates, influencing businesses to cut their budgets. This raises the unfair issue of staffing problems where businesses cannot afford to pay their employees and must rely on volunteers to manage the event for free.
This raises the question, “How are you treating your employees?”.
Individual’s ulterior motives…
With bills and living costs continuing to rise, over 5.2 million UK workers have taken on a second or third job in order to earn extra income to meet the demands of increased bills. This shift in attitude has seen paid work become a priority as household budgets have tightened in order to accommodate for the current and unpredictable rate of inflation. The average working hours for millions of UK employees have increased to an average of 48 hours per week. Increased employment opportunities are taking up more time for individuals, leaving 64% feeling overwhelmed, which is having a detrimental effect on their leisure time and their willingness to volunteer.
Since the pandemic, workers have become accustomed to flexible work arrangements regarding hours and location. This format may still be in demand, even in the context of volunteering. Flexible volunteering schedules and even volunteering from home will help the vast majority of society to save money on travel costs and reduce time constraints from additional journeys. This raises the question of whether volunteering programs could be undertaken in home environments.
5 Top Tips for you!
What do you already offer your volunteers? Are you willing to compromise and adapt to the ever-changing external environment? Leave your thoughts below!