I work for a charity that relies on its volunteers as well as its staff team to do our work and to do it well.
To us and too many other charities and community organisations, volunteers are essential.
We quite simply would not be able to do what we do without them.
With over 21 million people volunteering in the UK at least once a year, it seems that we are not alone in relying on volunteers.
The charity I work for, South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) is a grant maker and we distribute our grants to community organisations across our region, supporting people in need.
What these groups do and achieve every day is incredible – and the majority of the groups that we support are run and supported almost entirely by volunteers.
They pick up supply donations for food banks, run playgroups for children or provide counselling for people in crisis.
Volunteers give their time, energy and skills to worthy causes and prove to us all that we can all make a positive difference to the lives of individuals and communities.
It is important that we appreciate everyone that volunteers but also to understand that volunteers aren’t always enough for charitable organisations to function and achieve their goals.
Charities have had a lot of bad press lately, which is probably why I have often heard recently the opinion that everyone who works in the charity sector should be doing so as a volunteer or that paying for staff instead of just running on volunteers is taking money away from those that are in need in the first place.
But the simple fact is, that when a charitable organisation employs someone they do so because it is essential to their work.
South Yorkshire Community Foundation has a very small staff team of dedicated and passionate people, all working extremely hard.
We work together with our volunteers to raise funding which then goes back out into the community in grant awards. In 2015 we distributed over £1million in this way and supported thousands of people across South Yorkshire.
We could not have done it without our volunteers, that is true, but we certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it without our staff team either.
So thank you to all of you like-minded volunteers and charity professionals out there.
We couldn’t do it without you.