Plan Actions

An ambitious 10-year plan will need ongoing flexibility and the opportunity to review and refresh actions based on the changing landscape. In all, 49 actions have been identified.

Policy Impact

1) Responsibility for Volunteering Policy through government-wide performance indicators; a cross-government group on volunteering, hosted by the Third Sector Unit; and volunteering inclusive policy analysis.

2) Local volunteering strategies will be developed by Community Planning Partnerships, supported by local Third Sector Interfaces, local authorities and COSLA.

3) Volunteering Values statement that reflects Stakeholders’ views (Volunteer Scotland, SCVO, COSLA, Scottish Government, Chambers, Trade Unions, NHS Scotland and Funders) on volunteering and supports national and global initiatives in this area.

4) Organising for policy success through a Policy Champions Network, developed and supported by the Scottish Government and Volunteer Scotland, with representation from across the volunteering sector.

5) Planning and reviewing policy impact through a comprehensive policy review calendar to support timely inputs and implementation of a ‘test of change’ approach for reviewing a key policy area.

6) Providing agency to volunteers through influencing how volunteering is represented in the practical application of policy, for example the recent work around Work Capability Assessments. This will ensure (potential) volunteers can fully participate and engage.

Funding for Success

7) Volunteering Funding Consortium to fund ‘complex’ issues such as inclusive volunteering, and fund ‘capacity building’; to agree objectives; to agree standards; reduce bureaucracy; and improve guidance.

8) Proof of concept ‘experimental’ funds – the opposite of large scale projects these are small scale ‘tests of change’ where learning is prioritised. Actions address more complex issues and where impact is less certain. 

9) Funding Standards that focus on societal impact, employ standardised templates, make explicit the funds for volunteering, create agreed outcomes for volunteering impact and make ‘impact measurement’ a condition of grant. 


10) Support for Volunteering Leaders through identifying leadership development opportunities (e.g. young leaders), assessing current leadership development activity and providing leadership support.

11) Create ‘System Stewards’ programme which is focused on taking participants through a process of making change within an area of volunteering through understanding underpinning systems and how to improve impact.

Evidence and Voice

12) Build Voice capacity through embedding Voice (especially volunteers’ voice) into key decision-making structures and building ‘voice gathering’ capacity (developing skills, educating and providing guides for individuals and organisations).

13) Build Evidence capacity which includes exploring the feasibility of a Volunteering Research Centre; engaging other sector research specialists; agreeing Volunteering Research protocols for wider research sharing; and supporting organisations to increase their volunteering research capability. 


14) The Volunteering For All: National Learning Community is a ‘shared space’ through which to (a) review voice and evidence inputs (b) understand / articulate the system at the highest level (c) generate or help prioritise proposed actions nationally and (d) review and help support, refine or exit from existing actions.

Capacity Building

15) Enhancing volunteering practice through developing standardised training, an accredited train-the-trainer model and developing career pathways for volunteer practitioners (managers and coordinators).

16) New capacity building initiatives through enabling the scoping and potential pilots for future large-scale initiatives, such as a Volunteer Passport Scheme.


17) Wider, more informed local resilience partnerships through appropriate third sector engagement with the Resilience Partnership Infrastructure; and greater access to learning & development on emergency resilience topics.

18) Improve resilience processes and guidance to reflect the contribution made by communities; promoting good safeguarding practice in respect of vulnerable people; and updating guidance on informal volunteering.

Digital volunteering

19) Supporting Digital practice and Digital access in volunteering by helping organisations to apply digital tools and share best practice; which includes signposting to existing support (from SCVO and others) that increases use of digital generally; and providing guidance to create accessible content around a volunteering programme.

Awareness and perception of volunteering

20) Co-ordinating national recognition and celebration initiatives and expanding the Volunteers’ Week programme by including other national events relevant to volunteering.

21) Delivery of local and regional community events which build on existing national celebrations and focus on locally driven community events.

22) Establish a common understanding of inclusive volunteering and inclusive volunteering practice through awareness raising campaigns.

23) ‘Tell your story’ platform that allows volunteers to tell their story in their own words.

24) Evaluate volunteering awards and their importance for lifelong engagement, including the potential for adult awards.

25) Encourage people to consider volunteering through tailored, comprehensive and accessible information and guidance that addresses key questions for non-volunteers.

Community Engagement

26) Leverage community ‘assets’ through engaging ‘anchor’ organisations and individuals and supporting volunteers’ use of greenspace and bluespace.

27) Scaling up models of successful community-volunteer engagement through understanding the success factors and supporting wider application, thematically and geographically.

28) Stimulate volunteer pathways through initiatives aimed at participants and recipients within community services and interest groups.

29) Help communities to help themselves through supporting a volunteering response to important issues, such as national emergencies, protecting assets under threat, rescuing land for a community garden – this includes sharing good practice examples.

30) Support Voluntrepreneurs i.e. support entrepreneurial action that’s focused on creating community-volunteer engagement models or approaches.

Volunteering Opportunities

31) Volunteering Opportunities + through a plan to increase current opportunity volumes and matches which involves identifying and removing barriers for both opportunity publishers and searchers.

32) Volunteering Opportunities by lifestage through collating, reviewing and recommending changes based on motivations and needs at each life stage, including employer supported volunteering and intergenerational activity.

33) Inclusive nature-based volunteering through collating case studies via volunteers and practitioners, and providing guides to help others create roles in this area.

Relationship building

34) Bridge expertise through building relationships between volunteering and community engagement partners.

35) Engage national partners around successful community-volunteer engagement initiatives in order to understand and support.

36) Tackle transitions for volunteers into adulthood by engaging education-focused stakeholders and employers; and into retirement by engaging employers and others.

Research evidence

37) Understand older ‘potential’ volunteers through research that examines their needs and motivations to volunteer.

38) Understand community engagement and volunteering through research and monitoring and evaluation data.

Valuing volunteering

39) Volunteering and Wellbeing. Gain a better understanding of the contribution of volunteering to the Wellbeing Economy by aligning existing research with the National Outcome indicators related to health and social capital. 

40) Create a positive culture for volunteers through wider promotion of the impact of volunteering in policy and the media. 

41) Fair Volunteering. Reinforce the distinction between volunteering and paid employment by reviewing and relaunching the Volunteer Charter, introducing fair volunteering principles, and reinforcing the importance of paying expenses amongst others

Volunteering Experience and Training

42) National approach to Employer Supported Volunteering which includes an agreed value statement, guidance and accreditation routes and signposting to existing services.

43) Build knowledge, skills and capacity in inclusive volunteering through practical resources, training and peer support.

44) Knowledge hub to recognise and celebrate volunteering and ensure that minimum standards are in place for recognising volunteers.

45) The right level of bureaucracy through understanding where bureaucracy can be streamlined (with relevance to VIOs, infrastructure bodies, funders, and others) and the application and impact for different types of volunteers / volunteering.

46) Create a wellbeing training resource which supports volunteers to maintain positive physical and emotional wellbeing and sets a national baseline to support volunteer practice.

47) Improve and widen the uptake of standards of practice through the increased promotion of ‘a quality pipeline’ which includes the Volunteer Charter, Volunteer Friendly (VF) and Investing in Volunteers (IiV). Assess potential for ‘QA marked’ opportunities.

Additional Actions

48) Cost of Living Crisis Response for Volunteering – understanding the impact of the cost of living crisis on volunteering and work in partnership with key partners to influence decision-makers and develop guidance for volunteer involving organisations on responding to the crisis. 

49) Just transition to Net Zero for Volunteering – that is fair and creates a better future for everyone. Through a set volunteering ‘actions’ (which tackle inequalities and centre on people’s wellbeing), we’ll reduce our emissions and respond to a changing climate.