Cultures of Volunteering – a working paper

cultures of vol - front pageThis working paper details how the voluntary sector can improve their delivery of projects through a better understanding of the geographies of volunteering.

We have termed this concept ‘cultures of volunteering’ and it can be defined as ‘the sum total of knowledge, skills and social networks which influence volunteering behaviours’. Crucial to emphasise is that ‘cultures of volunteering’ do not refer to volunteering numbers (quantity) per se but rather to volunteering capacity (quality) within a particular population.

This concept was developed following a discourse analysis of interviews with professionals in the voluntary sector. We have identified how the Living Well healthcare project has evolved differentially across Cornwall with varying degrees of success.

This paper argues that different local cultures of volunteering in Cornwall result in variance in the project delivery. The cultures of volunteering are the products of the physical, social and cultural geographies of areas.

In the spirit of coproduction this ‘working’ paper is not the end point, but rather the beginning of an action research agenda which hopes to better understand, map, and enable the voluntary sector to effectively respond to the differentiated geographies of volunteering in Cornwall.

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