Giving Back

Article by Andrea Hosey CEng FIChemE and Mark Sutton

Andrea Hosey and Mark Sutton examine the needs and experiences of IChemE’s bank of volunteers

VOLUNTEERS play a critical role in running IChemE, and without them we would not be able to provide the broad range of qualifications, learned society, member group and other activities such as publications and courses, that we deliver every year. Earlier this year, IChemE commissioned a piece of research to explore the experience and satisfaction of our many volunteers.

This is the first time comprehensive feedback has been sought from the whole complement of more than 3,000 volunteers. This work was in collaboration with a member-led Volunteer Engagement Committee, motivated by a desire to better understand the experiences and needs of our volunteers, with the aim of improving volunteer experience and engagement across the Institution. We want to take this opportunity to thank all volunteers for their vital contribution and to those that participated in the volunteer research and the Volunteer Engagement Committee for the work in getting us to this point.

How we approached the research

The research was conducted by Research by Design (RbD), an independent research consultancy. The content of this article is derived from its research findings report of May 2022.

  • RbD conducted a volunteer focus group and six staff interviews to identify a hypothesis which could be included within an online survey, ensuring that that the approach and content of the research was fit for purpose and questions asked were relevant.
  • An online web-based survey was conducted in February 2022. The survey was sent to all volunteers for whom email addresses were held, numbering 3,171. The survey received 453 total responses, resulting in an overall response rate of 14.2%. Survey data was weighted for age and location.
  • The online survey was used to recruit volunteers for two online focus groups – Chartered Members and Fellows; and Associate Members – to participate in 45-minute in-depth interviews

What we learned

Motivations for volunteering

More than half of volunteers were motivated to start volunteering with IChemE by wanting to play an active role in giving back to the industry (56%) and to mentor and develop the next generations of chemical engineers (52%). Volunteers at Associate grade look to combine volunteering with building up their networks and developing their career; for example, 71% cited that they started volunteering for networking opportunities. The research demonstrated that members continue to volunteer for similar reasons as when they started volunteering, ie giving back to the industry and mentoring the next generation.

Article By

Andrea Hosey CEng FIChemE

Vice President Member Engagement, IChemE

Mark Sutton

IChemE trustee

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