Drop in Volunteering Reported
A study of volunteering habits in the UK over the 2008 financial crash points to a country also going through a ‘social recession‘ and the decline in our ability to help others, including strangers in need.
‘Doing good when times are bad: volunteering behaviour in economic hard times’ is published in the British Journal of Sociology this week.
The paper, co-authored by Dr James Laurence, research fellow in sociology at The University of Manchester, finds that formal volunteering (eg. unpaid help through organisations such as charities, schools or community groups) dropped by over 5% in two years, following the onset of the recession. By comparison, informal volunteering (eg. everyday acts of kindness done outside of organisations, such as babysitting, shopping or driving for a neighbour or friend) dropped by 12%. In both cases, even amongst those who continued to help, the amount of time that they gave also decreased. One of the most staggering findings was the speed at which volunteering declined….