In March, 241 members of the Heritage Pulse panel, all working in the heritage sector, completed the latest UK Heritage Pulse survey on the theme of volunteering. The report sheds light on the areas in which heritage organisations are most reliant on volunteers, with nearly half of the UK heritage sector reliant on volunteers for public facing roles.
Findings from the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Pulse Survey sheds light on the areas in which heritage organisations are most reliant on volunteers. It reports that 45% of respondents agreed that the sector is over-reliant on volunteers, but 24% think that there is an opportunity to make more use of those volunteers. The report overview suggests that smaller organisations tend to feel the overreliance more keenly, which is an observation made by many smaller Industrial Heritage groups and sites during the 2022-23 round of Industrial Heritage Network meetings.
In the same report, 46.7% of respondents said that their own organisation was reliant on volunteers to engage with visitors, primarily through interpretation, tours, or room hosting. Furthermore, 42% of respondents were reliant on volunteers for technical skills including maintenance, 39% for administration and finance, and around a third for research, archaeology, and conservation, and collections management.
The majority of respondents, 58%, said the recruitment of volunteers was challenging, with only 14% reporting that recruitment processes had gone well. These responses also echo the experience of Industrial Heritage Network Work members gathered in 2022-23.
An outline of the findings from the most recent survey is available on the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s UK Heritage Pulse website.