Volunteering in community business: a digest of recent research

Volunteers are critical to how community businesses help to make places better. They help root community businesses in their local communities, and their time is central to community businesses’ financial viability. In fact, some community businesses would not exist at all were it not for volunteers.

This digest summarises three research reports recently published by Power to Change that explore the role and changing profile of volunteers in community businesses. In the first, researchers from CRESR (Sheffield Hallam University) and The Third Sector Research Centre (University of Birmingham) explore the meaning, practice and management of volunteering in community business. The second report, written by a Power to Change research associate, focuses on the role of volunteers in asset-based community businesses supported through its flagship (now closed) Community Business Fund (CBF). In the third, researchers from CFE Research analyse the size and structure of the volunteer base; the work volunteers undertake; and the skills they use.