As their volunteering programme continues to expand, English Heritage uses surveys to develop their national volunteer and participation strategy as well as local delivery.

Understanding the experience of volunteers

English Heritage’s volunteer survey journey started in-house in 2011 but as their volunteering programme continued to grow, they decided to partner with Agenda Consulting to better understand the experience of their volunteers.


  • Understand the experience of volunteering with English Heritage and how it differs between different demographic groups.
  • Better direct English Heritage’s capacity, expertise and budget for maximum benefit for volunteers.
  • Provide as rich, high quality experience as possible for volunteers by using survey results to develop the volunteer and participation strategy.


In partnership with Agenda Consulting, English Heritage decided to run a volunteers survey on a bi-annual basis and benchmark their volunteer experience with other organisations in the voluntary sector.

The survey was designed so that English Heritage could compare their results to their previous survey results and focused on the organisation’s strategic priorities.

The survey was made as inclusive as possible by ensuring all volunteers were able to access it and in response rates were tracked in order to encourage high participation levels.

Having comparative results has been extremely helpful. It has allowed us to easily identify where we are best placed to direct limited resource and where to focus support for maximum impact.

Using the Agenda Consulting’s reporting tool has made sharing the results in a multitude of ways to a diverse and far reaching audience that much easier reducing the barriers to actually using the data which is a big win.


  • English Heritage were able to identify which volunteer programmes were scoring higher or lower for key topics and present individual reports for each volunteer programme as well as break down results by area, by time developed and demographic group.
  • They were able to understand their volunteers’ motivations as well as what was working well and less well for recruitment, communication, leadership, and other priority areas.
  • English Heritage’s survey results feed directly into their measurement and evaluation stream of their volunteering and participation strategy and has been used to inform practice locally in delivering high quality volunteer programmes.

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Our partners

AHRMIO Association of Mental Health Providers AVM Bond CDR Charities HR Network Charity Comms CHS Alliance Heritage Volunteering Group Hospice UK Humentum Hospice Volunteer Managers Network National Care Forum NCVO Voluntary Organisations Disability Group

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