Skilled volunteers are the bread and butter of our service. We were established in 2009 to provide a mechanism through which professional economists could volunteer their skills to support charities. Since then, our trustees and staff have argued for the  importance of volunteers and particularly skilled volunteers through public speeches, high profile project work and public events.

Speeches and public events

Andy Haldane is one of our founder's and trustees. You can read his blog in The Guardian on “Putting a value on volunteering in the age of austerity” here:

Putting a value on volunteering

You can read Andy Haldane’s speech to the Society of Professional Economists on “In giving how much do we receive? The social value of volunteering?” here:

In giving how much do we receive

Lord Gus O’Donnell, our Chair, speaks about the impact of volunteering on wellbeing in his speech for NCVO on “The Power of Giving” here:

The power of giving

Each year, we host a public event for around 150 professionals from business, finance, economics and the charity sector to celebrate our volunteers and to discuss and debate the policy implications of project work for individual charities.

In 2017, Chicago Booth hosted a discussion between Lord Gus O’Donnell, Bronwyn Curtis (JP Morgan), Peter Kellner (NCVO) and David Rossington (DCMS) on our work for City Year UK and Power to Change. The City Year report examines the economic case for expanding full-time volunteering in the UK.  The Power to Change report looks at valuing the community assets which volunteers use.  A full write-up of this event can be found here:

Volunteers event 2017


In February 2018, the LSE Marshall Institute, hosted a ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ roundtable event focussing on volunteering in health and social care.  Key people from across the voluntary and health care sectors came together to discuss how volunteering can best benefit the NHS and social care.

An estimated three million volunteers are active in the NHS and social care.  Nearly 80,000 people are volunteering with acute NHS trusts alone.

The discussion was set against the backdrop of one of the most challenging winters for the NHS yet, and a social care system which is facing an estimated funding gap of £2.5 billion by 2019/20.

Volunteers represent a substantial and valuable economic resource that could be further expanded and we will be working with partners to explore how the economic benefits of volunteering can be brought to the attention of policy makers.

Project work

We are pleased to be the official evaluation partner of HelpForce. You can read more about HelpForce here:


Our work for City Year UK helped the charity to estimate the total net benefits of a full-time volunteering programme for a cohort of 10,000 young people. The results are annual benefits of between £119 and £28 million to the UK economy, or a cost-benefit ratio of between £1.20 and £1.60 for every £1 spent, based on benefits to both the volunteer and their host organisation. The report was referenced in Parliament and formed the basis of a submission to Government during a call for evidence on the value of full-time volunteering. You can read more about this project here:

City Year