The Gini coefficient is used to measure income inequality. It struck me on my way in that it would be great to have something like that for volunteering. Bear with me… John Mohan has used a concept called the “civic core” – it describes that group who do the most civic activity (the civic core are those who collectively give two thirds of the unpaid help). In the UK, the figure is 7%.

Suppose we could calculate a Civic Core Index for different countries. We would have to account for percentage of the population volunteering too… A country with a high score and a high proportion of citizens volunteering would look quite different to a country with a high score and a tiny proportion of citizens volunteering. So the index would divide the size of the civic core by the proportion of the population volunteering, say… There would be a LOT of measurement problems, of course.

And still, I’m not sure exactly what it would show… Would it be ‘better’ in any sense to have a larger Civic Core Index (i.e. a larger civic core compared to the size of your volunteer population as a proportion of population)? This goes in the ‘needs more thought’ box.