In 2001, when Do-it was launched, I’m not sure that YouthNet would have been able to predict that 12 years later, in the same year that London played host to the Olympic Games, we would also be celebrating a million registered volunteers, but here we are today.
Since its inception, Do-it has grown from a pilot scheme, supplying IT equipment to a few local volunteer centres, to a service that has become the digital infrastructure for the volunteering sector and in 2011 Do-it facilitated the uptake of volunteering opportunities which contributed an estimated £95,000,000* to our economy.
Today, every 41 seconds someone registers on Do-it (with 29% of a recent survey revealing they wouldn’t have volunteered without the service) and volunteers are key to supporting hundreds of public sector organisations and local communities every day.
The abundance of different types of volunteer opportunities from across the sector and the ease of accessing them through the internet , has been paramount in a shift in the growth and perception of volunteering.
Whilst many people still volunteer to give something back, others, especially young people, are recognising the value of volunteering in gaining skills and experience to improve their job prospects.
However, challenges surrounding the sector grow deeper, particularly in this economic climate and we must ensure that we find ways to engage with new volunteers to ensure we continue to resource vital services in our communities by enabling more flexible opportunities, for example virtual volunteering, to fit in with people’s busy lives.
Responding to these challenges however, is what Do-it is all about and with the introduction of new features like reverse searching, which will allow organisations to search for volunteers, and more opportunities to post informal, peer-to-peer opportunities from people looking to contribute on a local level, we hope to continue to do our bit in helping make volunteering accessible to everyone.
It’s also our commitment to continue to develop a multi-platform approach to volunteering – so individuals can find opportunities where they are – be this via mobile, social media or syndicated to other services.
The success in reaching a million volunteers through Do-it would not have been possible without working with our partners, who spend many hundreds of hours updating the volunteering opportunities and of course, the team here at YouthNet who work so hard developing this brilliant service.
On to the next million!
*For more information on the methodology email email@example.com