Exploring patterns and variations in volunteering using Scottish Household Survey data

Alasdair Rutherford, Division of Economics, University of Stirling

Recent shifts in UK and Scottish Government policy changes, both at the UK level and in Scotland, have led to greater funding scrutiny and a need to understand how communities, individuals and volunteers can participate in, shape and support sustainable public services. This policy shift towards a co-production agenda assumes that levels of volunteering and its distribution in all localities can meet this demand now and in the future. Currently data is only available nationally; there is strong demand for a method to generate local information.

This project aimed to address this need, enhancing understanding of the determinants of volunteering through secondary analysis of SHS data on volunteering participation matched with local area statistics. This was done in partnership with VDS, developing quantitative methods skills within the organisation which will enable them to conduct further in-depth analysis beyond this project.

Project Overview
The project addressed the following research questions:

What characteristics of individuals, households and geography drive variations in volunteering participation?
How can we explain the higher levels of volunteering participation observed in rural areas?
What opportunities are there to combine the SHS data with other local Scottish datasets to better understand variations in volunteering participation at the local level?