AidCamps Volunteer Survey Results

Prior to Christmas 2014, AidCamps launched a survey of former volunteers to see what impact, if any, volunteering in the developing South had had on them as individuals. AidCamps has a pretty good understanding of the difference our projects have made to the communities we've worked with but we've not taken a proper look at what lasting impact volunteering has had on the people who make our projects happen - until now!

We received 101 responses to our survey and an evaluation expert (who just happens to be a volunteer herself ... we work with a talented group of people you know!) offered to do the analysis for us.

The results were anonymized so we couldn't identify respondents and only those people who provided their details and said they'd like to help AidCamps further will be contacted directly by the charity as a result of this piece of work.

So what did we find? Well, I won't bore you with every answer but we did get some interesting responses:

  • Just under half of those who responded have done two or more projects ... a few have reached seven or more!
  • Of those participants that gave us details of their gender 68% were female and 32% were male. Interesting when you think the vast majority of our work is Group construction projects. It's nice to challenge a stereotype now and again!
  • We have a pretty impressive spread of ages amongst our volunteers with 92% of participants being 30+ ... There was over 50 years between our youngest participant and our oldest!
  • When asked if volunteers had developed any skills or knowledge based on their AidCamp the most common response was 'a knowledge of other cultures or the country visited'. Close behind this finding was 'an increased understanding of development issues' and then 'Teamwork'.
  • We asked if there had been other benefits from their volunteering experience and by far the most common response was 'Confidence'. As one participants said,  "It helped me realise that I can do things I never thought I could."
  • The second most frequent response when asked about other benefits of volunteering was making new friends: "We feel this was one of the best things we have ever done. The whole experience was very rewarding - helping to provide much needed services to a poor community. Working alongside like-minded people and with whom we developed a real bond of friendship and which has continued since the project." 
  • Volunteers were asked if, upon their return, they had done any further fundraising for our NGO partners and we found that some had fundraised for our partners; others had made donations; some had fundraised to help a friend or colleague do an AidCamp project and some had decided to sponsor a child.
  • Participants were asked if volunteering with AidCamps had influenced future volunteering decisions? Many said it had with the most frequent response being volunteering in their home country. A number of participants said they'd subsequently volunteered on other international programmes including building projects, teaching and International Citizens Service. Some even mentioned some of AidCamps' larger 'cousins' such as Save the Children and Action Aid.
  • Of those people who responded 94% said it was maybe likely, quite likely or they definitely would do another AidCamp ... which we obviously found very encouraging!!!
  • However, when asked what would encourage them to take part in another AidCamp there were a few responses that meant AidCamps couldn't just rest on its laurels. Participants wanted to see a greater number of opportunities/new projects; shorter projects (more two week projects); careful consideration of cost; and continuing to make sure there was real work to do and that the project would be completed before the volunteers left the country.  

For the Trustees and myself this survey was an incredibly useful exercise. We got a better understanding of who our volunteers are, what they felt they achieved by volunteering with AidCamps and what, if any difference, volunteering has made to them and their lives.

It's clear from what we've achieved so far that AidCamps has a lot to offer its partners. However the benefits of volunteering don't just stop with the NGO or the people in the communities in which we work. They return home with our volunteers and have a wider impact in their home countries, on the volunteer themselves and on their family and friends.

I hope you found the outcome of the survey interesting? Please feel free to leave a comment: perhaps you've had a volunteering experience you'd like to share or been on a project that has changed your life in some way? We'd be delighted to hear from you.

Cheers

Steve

Comments

Ian Tennant
16/02/2015
A set of splendid and heart-warming views. Aid Camps benefit both recipients and volunteers alike. Long may it thrive!

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