What’s the project?

We work with nearly 2,000 volunteers to help people affected by prostate cancer and disease. Our volunteer programme enables men with prostate cancer, their friends, families and members of the public to be part of our work, raising awareness of the disease and enhancing our services. We aim to provide meaningful and beneficial volunteering opportunities, both nationally and locally, to ensure that men’s experiences are at the heart of everything we do.

The expansion of our volunteering programme from 2012-15 was funded by the Movember Foundation.

How does it work?

To reach more volunteers and ensure recruited volunteers are well suited to their roles, we want them to be properly supported, receive high quality training, and have the opportunity to use their skills in the best possible way. Volunteers are recruited and supported by our Volunteer Management team who deliver training and organise networking events across the UK. There are several roles through which volunteers can help us, and staff across all our teams work closely with the volunteers that have a role in their work.

How was it evaluated?

We sent a survey to all current volunteers in December 2013 to find out about their experiences of volunteering with us. We aimed to find out more about their motivations and expectations, their satisfaction, and the impact of volunteering on them. In total 226 volunteers completed the questionnaire, giving a 20% response rate.

This survey of volunteers’ experiences is one aspect of the broader evaluation of the volunteer programme, which will also involve gathering more feedback from volunteers as well as from service users that have used services supported by specific volunteer roles.

What did we learn?

  • 89% of volunteers that responded to the survey have a personal connection to prostate cancer, either because they have or have had prostate cancer, or know a close relative or friend with the disease. This motivates them to raise awareness of prostate cancer and help others similarly affected, as well as increasing their own knowledge or changing their perspective of the disease.
  • 75% of our volunteers are men, a high rate of male participation that is in contrast to many other charities.
  • On the whole, volunteers were satisfied with their volunteering experience and 90% of volunteers who responded have a high or good level of satisfaction with their role. Many of our volunteers mention the importance of raising awareness of prostate cancer, or mention the rewarding experiences they have had through volunteering.
  • Volunteers appear to have a higher level of satisfaction in skilled roles where they feel they are making an impact and where they can see they are making a difference. More personal contact from us and increasing the number of opportunities would improve their satisfaction.

I have found it particularly rewarding to exchange ideas on improving publications with various members of your team. I found them very willing to receive suggestions – and sometimes adopt them!

What will we do now?

With the survey feedback we will look to improve the programme and keep our volunteers engaged, reflecting their interests and requests.

To increase volunteer satisfaction, we should increase the number of volunteering opportunities to support our local and national programmes for those volunteers that want to do more, and improve our support and communication processes. We will look at ways to better capture our volunteers’ skills and interests so we can provide more appropriate ways to get involved. We will create more opportunities for volunteers to meet and share ideas at local networking days.

How can I find out more?

Read the report (PDF)