According to new Ipsos MRBI statistics commissioned by Volunteer Ireland, three-quarters of the population volunteered their time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March this year.

The most popular activities were grocery shopping (40%), befriending someone who was lonely (31%) and collecting prescriptions (29%).

According to Nina Arwitz, Volunteer Ireland CEO, the high level of volunteering is no surprise. “As a society we have always been very good at giving back and this pandemic has been no different. What’s really interesting about these statistics is that the most common form of volunteering was at a very local level, in people’s communities, helping someone in need. The pandemic has seen a huge rise in informal volunteering whereby people see a need in their community and come together to help.”

Other popular activities included doing someone’s cleaning or gardening (24%) and walking someone’s dog or helping with a pet (12%). Many people also did more than one type of activity, with over half of respondents (57%) doing three activities.

A significant statistic is the fact that 62% of respondents intend to volunteer post COVID-19, with 40% of those saying they would like to do so with an organisation. According to Ms Arwitz this presents a great opportunity for organisations.

“The current pandemic has demonstrated the good will and generosity of people across the country. Many people may have volunteered for the first time during COVID-19 because they saw a need and felt compelled to act, and in many cases because people had free time that they didn’t have before. This outpouring of goodwill represents a unique opportunity for organisations that engage volunteers to look at how they can harness this and attract new people who were so drawn to giving back during the pandemic.”

“Looking towards 2021, this is a great time for organisations to see how they can enhance their volunteering programmes and engage new volunteers. I’d encourage any organisation thinking about this to contact their local Volunteer Centre for support or check out for a host of resources and upcoming training courses.”

The full research can be viewed here.

About the Ipsos MRBI Statistics

The overall objective of this research was to measure the impact of COVID-19 on volunteer participation in Ireland. A telephone (CATI) survey was conducted via Ipsos MRBI’s Omnipoll service on behalf of Volunteer Ireland. 1,000 interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample of individuals aged 15+. Fieldwork was conducted from the 16th to 30th September 2020. At the analysis stage, the data was weighted in line with the latest CSO estimates of the population.

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