Spirit of 2012 has contracted policy and research specialists DHA Communications to conduct research into how events have worked, or could have worked to strengthen the infrastructure around volunteering.

The study will examine a number of key events and anniversaries to assess what has happened, what we know and where evidence exists, and what recommendations or learning there can be for those planning events and anniversaries with volunteer programmes in the future.

Over the coming months, DHA will agree their research questions and prepare a rapid evidence assessment of publicly available material on post-event volunteering legacies. They will then undertake targeted desk research and fieldwork to find the ways events can strengthen the volunteering infrastructure, presenting their findings in November 2024.

Tamsin Cox, Head of Policy & Research at DHA Communications said:


“So much research into the impact of major events ignores the long-term effects. This project is different – and particularly exciting – because it is looking at volunteering in terms of ‘what happened next’. We know that cultural and sporting events, and major anniversaries and commemorations, create opportunities for individuals and community to volunteer, learn new skills and be part of something big.

What we want to understand through this research is where and how places and organisers have turned that big moment into something sustainable and we want to you to help by sharing your experience of volunteering and the story of ‘what happened next’ on your volunteering programme.”

Spirit will use this research to build on its large bank of knowledge gathered from its funding over the course of a decade, much of which looks at the volunteering legacy from events. In 2021, we published “How events can help boost volunteering”, the first report in its year-long Inquiry into the Power of Events, and has funded volunteering programmes in Hull, Coventry, Bradford, Great Yarmouth and many more around the UK. Their partnership with DHA Communications comes on the heels of the appointment of three organisations as learning partners, who will assume responsibility for our evidence bank following its planned closure in 2026.

Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012, said:


“We have gathered a host of evidence over the last decade showing the positive effects on wellbeing which volunteering can have on communities, particularly in the wake of major and community-based events. With the advent of the Euros, Paris 2024 and next year’s City of Culture, now is a brilliant time to dig deeper into how we can use events like these to stongly embed volunteering practice and create lasting impact, with DHA Communications having the perfect complement of skills to partner with us on this.”

For more information on the research, please contact Tamsin Cox, Head of Policy & Reasearch, DHA Communications on 07850 329808 or email: [email protected]