A look back at 2021

Janet Thorne
Chief Executive at Reach Volunteering

Janet Thorne, CEO of Reach Volunteering, shares her reflections on 2021. 

As 2021 draws to a close, for our December newsletter, I wanted to share some reflections on what has been another eventful year.

At the start of 2021, we were in the heart of lockdown. Charities were dealing with big challenges on several fronts and they needed help in a range of areas from fundraising to operations, and especially with marketing and digital support. They posted a record number of trustee and volunteering opportunities. Fortunately, huge numbers of people wanted to help - an amazing 8,640 so far this year! This appetite to volunteer continues to surpass pre-pandemic levels. As I write, we have recorded an incredible 3,839 placements this year. That’s an amazing amount of expertise and help, given freely, by talented people, to the sector, during such a challenging time.

January is always a particularly productive time for our service,  so whether you are a charity looking for support or a volunteer looking to make a difference, it’s worth recruiting or updating your profile in the New Year. 

We’ve also been busy with projects which go beyond delivering our service. In May, we launched the Trustee Recruitment Cycle to support boards to recruit trustees in an effective and inclusive way. We also published a diversity report which showed that our services are contributing to board diversity and highlighted that open recruitment is important, but not enough in itself to make trustee recruitment fair. 

Our other major project of the year was our research into skills-based volunteering from the charity’s perspective. We will be developing useful resources based on the research insights to help more charities benefit from skills-based volunteering - watch this space!

Stepping back, we have been reflecting on the change we want to help make in the world - Reach’s overall vision and mission. We believe that our ability to connect people is a key part of building a fairer and more sustainable world. We have been developing our approach to equity, diversity and inclusion, and have committed to helping civil society address the climate crisis. We look forward to sharing our progress on this ongoing journey. 

Reach connects up great people who then do amazing things. So to all the fantastic organisations working to make the world a better place, and to all the generous, talented people giving their time and expertise to them, for free, a big thank you! You are a big reason to remain optimistic about the future, even at the end of a very long year! 

From all of us at Reach, we hope you have a lovely break and a wonderful start to the new year. See you in 2022!