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NCVO report reveals myriad ways people take part in civil society from petitions to ethical purchasing

Nov 29th 2017

While levels of volunteering and charitable giving have remained relatively stable, many types of organisations have seen a fall in their memberships, including trade unions and religious organisations, according to the new NCVO report  Getting Involved: How people make a difference.

It reveals that one area that has grown significantly over the past years is ethical consumerism which is based more on individual actions and perhaps more embedded in people’s everyday lives or driven by lifestyle choices.

Drawing on data from a wide range of sources and full of the latest statistics, this new publication looks at who gets involved, how and where people get involved, and whether participation has changed over time.

People are getting involved in many ways.

More than half of the UK population is a member of an organisation, over one in four people formally volunteer once a month, including 700,000 charity trustees, and about one-fifth is involved in social action in their community. Around six in 10 people donate to charity in a year, with a quarter giving every month. Each year, incredible amounts are raised by individuals - in 2015, £185m was raised through bake sales alone. People also take part in political action, ranging from voting to campaigning, signing petitions and protesting, and consuming in more ethical ways by purchasing ethical goods, recycling or sharing things.

The report shows people are involved in a wide range of activities in many different places, at a local, national and international level, within organisations and groups, online and offline. Many community groups and charities are highly dependent on the involvement of people who willingly give their time for free.

But people don’t just volunteer in the voluntary sector, significant numbers are also engaged in public services: over three million people volunteer in the health and care sector, there are about 300,000 school governors and about 100,000 volunteers in public libraries. Furthermore, technological advances have added to the diversity of activities. Virtual volunteering has provided people with flexible opportunities to give their time and technology has led to new ways of giving, including crowdfunding 

Download the report here Getting Involved: How people make a difference.

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