HomeFundingProjectsIncubationVolunteering together: inclusive volunteering and disabled people

Volunteering together: inclusive volunteering and disabled people

This project is now complete

Spirit of 2012 awarded a grant of £29,858 to carry out new research into the background, nature and experiences of disabled people who volunteer.

The project in numbers


Project spend

June 2021 – May 2022

Project duration

Volunteering Together was designed to support organisations to develop inclusive volunteering practices that are open to both disabled and non-disabled people on equal terms. The research was conducted by a team of four researchers led by Kim Donahue Consulting, along with Véronique Jochum,  Dr Christine Goodall, Dr Daiga Kamerade. The results were launched in a webinar in May 2023, and are available on our insights page.

The research team used data from Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study. This survey contains records of nearly 25,000 people who volunteer and was used to explore similarities and differences between the profiles of disabled and non-disabled volunteers. The researchers also undertook six in-depth case studies with organisations that currently work with volunteers.

  • Disabled volunteers contribute more hours per month than non-disabled volunteers (12 hours compared to 10 ).
  • Education is a more important predictor of whether disabled people volunteer than whether non-disabled people volunteer.
  • Higher income is related to higher rates of volunteering. While disabled volunteers have lower incomes than nondisabled volunteers, they have higher income than disabled adults generally. When disabled people have the same level of income as non-disabled people, they tend to volunteer more. This is also the case with charitable giving.
  • Internet use is a predictor of volunteering for disabled people, but not non-disabled people.
  • Disabled volunteers are predominantly positive about their volunteering experience, especially if they feel well supported, useful, connected and valued – but they still face significant barriers.


Project aims

  1. Gather insights to help organisations to develop inclusive volunteering practices for disabled and non-disabled people.

Explore similar projects