In February 2014 we conducted our first major volunteer survey for many years. It was designed to give a voice to volunteers across the organisation, from Foróige Clubs to Big Brother Big Sister to Project Volunteers and 7 other roles. Some 1,042 people completed this historic survey. This was the biggest single action ever by Foróige volunteers. In it we heard from leaders we don’t usually hear from – as about 50% of those who answered it are with us for less than 2 years.
The results of the survey will enable the organisation to best respond to volunteer needs in their role with Foróige. A big thank you to all those who filled it in and those who encouraged others to do so. The analysis will take some time, but here are some of the early findings.
The vast majority, more than 90%, of volunteers believe that their involvement in Foróige benefits young people and the organisation. This is important for volunteer satisfaction. They identify that the most important things they do in Foróige are getting to know young people, chatting with them and encouraging them to take part, as well as helping them to do things for themselves.
It is interesting to note the rise of the internet and social media as a means of getting involved in Foróige. Some 40% of Big Brother Big Sister volunteers heard about us online – while in clubs, online has just overtaken print newspaper articles as the place where people saw Foróige needed volunteers. Half of all volunteers answering the question see Foróige as a charity. 60% would ask someone to donate money to Foróige and over 90% would ask someone to donate time.
We need to work on getting more leaders and volunteers to training. While nearly all leaders do our mandatory “Starting out in Foróige” and Child Protection Courses, relatively few go on to do much more training. In all of our clubs one leader is known as the Club Leader. The survey shows that these leaders remain with the organisation for longer, do more training and go to District Council meetings more often. We need to spread the workload so that more leaders feel engaged. That will support them to stay for a longer time with us.
The survey was answered by 843 leaders in Foróige Clubs, 65 Big Brother Big Sister volunteers, 116 volunteers in Foróige youth projects and 18 volunteers who do not work directly with young people.
- Denis O'Brien, Foróige Volunteer Manager