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Finding Funding for Volunteering Projects - Problem Definition

8th December 2020



How Helpforce can assist systems, and the organisations working within systems, to and obtain funding for volunteering projects?

What is the problem?

Many of the organisations that we work with have innovative ideas for volunteering projects. In a time of constrained resources it is difficult for organisations to get access to funding to be able to progress their plans. One of the key challenges is how the benefits of volunteering projects relate to the various priorities and drivers set out by Integrated Care Systems.

In our experience one of the key problems in accessing funding relates to how those volunteering projects can be explicitly linked to System priorities.

At the end of the first year of our programme working with Integrated Care Systems (Feb 2020), 35 of the 42 systems submitted proposals for funding for specific volunteer projects. These projects were a mix of: place-based projects working across integrated care pathways to address health priorities; or system-level ‘infrastructure’ investment projects that would enable systems to better coordinate and maximise the potential of volunteering across their whole region.

COVID-19 and year one of Integrated Approaches to Volunteering project helped to raise the profile of volunteering. System leaders have witnessed the benefits of volunteering, particularly around ‘resilience’ - how volunteer support in communities reduces the strain on health services. Yet this increased interest does not seem to be converting into further investment. With an end in sight (a vaccine on the way) and systems looking to ‘reset and replan’ in the spring, the coming months could be the ideal time to help systems with making the case for more investment in volunteering infrastructure and projects.

Through working with systems we have learned that the projects that have the most success in accessing funding are those that can demonstrate very specific health priorities that are consistent with the overarching Integrated Care System plans. Successful projects also demonstrate a good understanding of where they exist within the structure of Integrated Care Systems. This means that they understand how they relate to either System, place or Primary Care Networks.

How will things be better if the problem is solved?

  • Systems will have more confidence that investing in volunteering will deliver against health priorities.

  • Organisations working within systems, will succeed in securing investment - from systems themselves and possibly other funding sources.

  • Volunteering projects bring Systems closer to the communities that they serve.

How does this impact on health priorities?

As our original Leadership Case showed, investment in volunteering can result in benefits for systems across multiple health priorities, and to help address system level challenges.

Through an explicit connection to health priorities volunteering projects can be shown to be delivering improved health and wellbeing for the community. By framing the design of volunteering projects in relation to health and wellbeing priorities we also create projects that are more sustainable as availability of funding changes.

What can we do?

We want to work with you to help you access funding for your volunteering project. If you have a plan and want to understand better about how this works with your Integrated Care System priorities then we can help you describe your project and make it investable.

Darren wright pd funding