The Economic and Social Value of Volunteering

Last night I attended the annual Queen's University Students' Union Volunteering Awards. It was an inspiring evening and I was delighted that Mogue Lawless, one of our students, was recognised with a special award for his volunteering efforts which centre around helping people with mental health issues.

Andrew Haldane, the Bank of England's Chief Economist, is a very interesting economist who likes to look at issues in a novel fashion. He gave a speech last year entitled In giving, how much do we receive?: The social value of volunteering. In his speech, he attempts to measure the benefits to society of volunteering - it truly is a three-figure billion big business, which makes a major contribution to social well-being. However, he suggests that with a little nudge, we could increase even further the social and economic benefit of volunteering. So this raises a challenge for us. What will I do? What will you do? How can we mobilise an army of volunteers?

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