Impact of Volunteering
On behalf of Caritas Vienna, the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship conducted a literature research on impact analyses and studies in the field of volunteering. The aim of the research was to identify impacts in the field of volunteer work, with a special focus on the stakeholder groups clients and organisations. As the latter can be thought of as being closely linked to full-time staff of the respective organisation, they were also included in the analysis. Particular attention was paid to those fields of activity that are relevant for Caritas Vienna.
The results are divided into a general part and a detailed analysis of three selected functional areas. In the general part, current findings from the literature on the impact of volunteer work and selected meta- and case studies were discussed. The focus topics cover the areas of social work, services for people with disabilities and care and support. The collected findings were summarised and presented in a study report. In total, the report comprises 40 literature sources, which include general theoretical background as well as meta- and case studies. In addition to scientific (and grey) literature, concrete case studies were used in selected cases in the sense of a practice-oriented approach. 24 studies (including meta-studies) of the included literature sources were specifically used to compile impacts in the respective functional areas - five studies in the area of general effects of volunteer work, six studies in the area of social work, two studies in the area of people with disabilities and eleven studies in the area of care and support.
Overall, it can be observed that volunteering induces a variety of impacts in the functional areas considered. If the potentials are exploited to the full (e.g. through targeted training and the promotion of cooperation between volunteers and full-time staff), a wide range of positive impacts can be achieved for clients as well as for the organisation and its full-time staff. At the same time, the above mentioned measures can serve to minimise possible negative effects. For example, the provision of regular further training and the creation of an inclusive working atmosphere can help to reduce fluctuation rates.