Rosie from our Volunteering and Resourcing Team shares some key findings from our 2018 Volunteer Survey.

We really appreciate all the volunteers who completed our Volunteer Survey in late 2018 and took the time to tell us about their experiences. They've given us such rich insight and the number of responses meant there was a lot of information to process so we’ve picked out few key themes. You can also download a summary of the survey results here (Word, 25KB)

Communication matters

It really, really matters. Volunteers told us that good communication is important to them in so many ways, helping to make them feel valued and supported. And what do we mean by "good" communication? It’s communication that is clear, responsive, timely and human. In other words, volunteers want to be able to reach the right person, when they need them, and to speak with them every now and then - not just exchange emails. Pretty straightforward!

Interestingly, many volunteers shared that regular contact isn't important, but that they appreciate feedback. One told us: “Contact isn't 'regular' per se, but it's plenty and I am always made aware of how I'm doing.”

Essentially, volunteers care about doing a good job and want to be told if they could do better.

No volunteer is an island

Our survey didn’t ask any direct questions about feeling connected, but something that lots of volunteers noted was a sense of wanting to connect to each other. Many described volunteering as fairly lonely, and said they'd like the chance to speak with other volunteers.

One volunteer said, "I sort of built up a network of friends who are volunteers at RNIB. When you meet other people, you get ideas about what you can do in your own area and learn from the mistakes that people have made.” A recent report by NCVO notes that “feeling connected lies at the core of the volunteer experience” – so this is something we’re taking very seriously.

Changing the world

We wanted to know what our volunteers gain from volunteering with RNIB, so we asked. So many volunteers said that they gained meaning by "contributing to society" or "helping out". 

Overwhelmingly though, 88 per cent of volunteers said that they learnt more about people’s experiences of sight loss through volunteering. It’s great to know that volunteering plays a role in this, hopefully enabling us all to work towards the goal of removing barriers for blind and partially sighted people.

What next?

We’ve been combing through the feedback, discussing what we can do to improve the volunteer experience and map out plans for putting this into action. We’ll be sharing our key action points based on the feedback in the Volunteer News Updates throughout the year ahead, so look out for those.