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Serving as a charitable trustee in England and Wales: trends in volunteering by birth cohort

Serving as a charitable trustee in England and Wales: trends in volunteering by birth cohort
Serving as a charitable trustee in England and Wales: trends in volunteering by birth cohort

This article examines trends over time in the propensity to volunteer as a charitable trustee in England and Wales. It makes use of unique, newly available administrative data. The results show sizeable, progressive and extensive declines in trusteeship by birth cohort: compared to the 1945 birth cohort, more recent cohorts through to 1980 show successively lower propensities to volunteer. These results represent the strongest empirical evidence to date in support of sociological theory which argues that the nature of volunteering is changing, with a reduction in a ‘collective’ style of volunteering characterised by long-term, regular and intensive commitment. The results also highlight a key challenge for policy: to sustain the voluntary work of trustee boards – which lies at the ‘heart’ of what it means to be a charity – in the context of sizeable cohort declines in the propensity to serve.

cohort, social change, volunteering
0038-0385
319-348
Clifford, David
9686f96b-3d0c-48d2-a694-00c87b536fde
Clifford, David
9686f96b-3d0c-48d2-a694-00c87b536fde

Clifford, David (2020) Serving as a charitable trustee in England and Wales: trends in volunteering by birth cohort. Sociology, 55 (2), 319-348. (doi:10.1177/0038038520937596).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article examines trends over time in the propensity to volunteer as a charitable trustee in England and Wales. It makes use of unique, newly available administrative data. The results show sizeable, progressive and extensive declines in trusteeship by birth cohort: compared to the 1945 birth cohort, more recent cohorts through to 1980 show successively lower propensities to volunteer. These results represent the strongest empirical evidence to date in support of sociological theory which argues that the nature of volunteering is changing, with a reduction in a ‘collective’ style of volunteering characterised by long-term, regular and intensive commitment. The results also highlight a key challenge for policy: to sustain the voluntary work of trustee boards – which lies at the ‘heart’ of what it means to be a charity – in the context of sizeable cohort declines in the propensity to serve.

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Accepted/In Press date: 27 April 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 August 2020
Published date: 24 August 2020
Additional Information: Funding Information: The author is grateful for the continued support of Professor John Mohan, director of the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham. The Charity Commission data contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0 (https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/ ). Many thanks to the Charity Commission for providing access to data from the Register of Charities and to David Kane for making available the classification of English and Welsh charities according to the ICNPO. Many thanks to the reviewers and editors for their thoughtful and constructive comments and suggestions. The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: this research is funded by the award to the author, by the Leverhulme Trust, of the Phillip Leverhulme Prize for Social Policy (?100,000; 2018?2021). Funding Information: The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: this research is funded by the award to the author, by the Leverhulme Trust, of the Phillip Leverhulme Prize for Social Policy (£100,000; 2018–2021). Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2020. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: cohort, social change, volunteering

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 442326
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/442326
ISSN: 0038-0385
PURE UUID: 491a52d2-abc5-4c7f-a4e7-a4c400f3b095
ORCID for David Clifford: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5347-0706

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Jul 2020 16:31
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 06:32

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