Case study

Work & Volunteering: A mechanism to share intangible wealth

This is part of our series of case studies or examples how a culture organisation contributes to one of the 12 dimensions of wellbeing from QWB Lab's Wellbeing Framework.

Museums are stewards of a range of valuable assets—physical, social, educational, economic, reputational. Volunteering is one way for people to access those assets and build their own wealth, says the American Association of Museums (AAM). For example, a study shows that volunteering makes it more likely for unemployed people to get a job (not necessarily where they are volunteering). The reason is likely that volunteering strengthens social networks, lifts morale by making them feel productive and valued, and also provides skills and knowledge.

There are, however, also risks with volunteering. The AAM highlights that “volunteerism can exacerbate inequality if, as in many museums, it is only accessed by people who are already relatively privileged.” They offer thoughts on how to extend considerations of diversity and inclusion to volunteers. "Ensuring that volunteerism is accessible and inclusive", they conclude, "is a form of sharing the museum’s intangible wealth.”

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Case study

Work & Volunteering: A mechanism to share intangible wealth

This is part of our series of case studies or examples how a culture organisation contributes to one of the 12 dimensions of wellbeing from QWB Lab's Wellbeing Framework.

Museums are stewards of a range of valuable assets—physical, social, educational, economic, reputational. Volunteering is one way for people to access those assets and build their own wealth, says the American Association of Museums (AAM). For example, a study shows that volunteering makes it more likely for unemployed people to get a job (not necessarily where they are volunteering). The reason is likely that volunteering strengthens social networks, lifts morale by making them feel productive and valued, and also provides skills and knowledge.

There are, however, also risks with volunteering. The AAM highlights that “volunteerism can exacerbate inequality if, as in many museums, it is only accessed by people who are already relatively privileged.” They offer thoughts on how to extend considerations of diversity and inclusion to volunteers. "Ensuring that volunteerism is accessible and inclusive", they conclude, "is a form of sharing the museum’s intangible wealth.”

Interested in more stories like this? Sign up to our monthly newsletter.

Image: Alexander Grey on Unsplash