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New Research highlights significant BAME contribution as the backbone of UK Volunteering

Human Appeal volunteers helping out

Human Appeal volunteers helping out

All volunteers having to reduce engagement due to Cost-of-Living Crisis

Human Appeal, one of the UK’s fastest growing NGOs, today releases new research which highlights the scale of BAME [i] contributions to the UK volunteer community.

In particular, the research reveals the detrimental impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the BAME volunteering community with 38% reducing their volunteering hours over the past 12 months as a direct result of rising costs. Overall, one third (33%) of all UK volunteers have had to cut back on their charitable time.

The survey found that, overall, BAME volunteers are more dedicated to supporting a wider range of causes simultaneously than the average UK volunteer, especially when it comes to giving their time to:

• childcare - supported by 25% of BAME volunteers versus 14% from non-BAME communities

• food provision, supported by 27% of BAME volunteers and 15% of non-BAME volunteers

• education, supported by 22% of BAME volunteers and 12% of non-BAME volunteers, and;

• healthcare, supported by 27% of BAME volunteers and 17% of non-BAME community volunteers

BAME volunteers also proved three times more likely than average to donate their time to working with refugees (15%) than those who do not identify as from BAME backgrounds (5%) and are twice as likely to give their time to climate change initiatives (supported by 12% of BAME and 5% of non-BAME community volunteers).

Unfortunately, almost half (47%) of BAME respondents have had to reduce their volunteer initiatives to increase their paid employment time, citing concerns about losing paid hourly wages and facing greater financial burdens due to the rising cost-of-living crisis. These pressures extend across the whole UK volunteering community, where two fifths (40%) of all volunteers have had to cut back on charity activities to prioritize paid work.

Despite these challenges, many volunteers still acknowledge the many benefits which donating their time and skills can impart. For example, a quarter (25%) of BAME volunteers agree volunteering helps improve their mental health, while 40% enjoy volunteering as it helps them gain new skills, and similar levels (38%) enjoy that it introduces them to new people.

For over half (54%) of all UK volunteers, the greatest benefit enjoyed was a greater sense of community.

Commenting on the research, Owais Khan, Deputy CEO of Human Appeal, said, "Charity volunteers face many challenges, and we commissioned this research to broaden our understanding of their ever-changing needs and the pressures they are under. In our findings, it is remarkable to see the tremendous commitment and engagement of both BAME and all UK volunteers in supporting their local causes with passion and dedication. While it is disheartening to witness the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on these caring individuals, it presents an opportunity for greater levels of support from the wider charitable sector.”

Human Appeal’s ‘UK Attitudes Towards Charity Volunteering’ white paper is available for download here.


The survey was conducted among a sample of 1,003 UK volunteers, across a nationally representative sample, and from a range of religions including no stated belief.

The interviews were conducted online by Sapio Research in May 2023 using an email invitation and an online survey.

About Human Appeal

Human Appeal (registered charity 1154288) is a fully independent British development and relief NGO based in Manchester, UK. It was established in 1991 and runs targeted poverty relief programmes in collaboration with recognised global organisations like the United Nations. Its purpose is to save lives through emergency response and sustainable development programmes, across over 25 countries worldwide.


For more information, please contact The Media Foundry

humanappeal@themediafoundry.com | 020 3011 1023

[i] BAME = survey respondents who self-identified at this demographic

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