Meta Zimmeck

Meta’s special interests are:

  • Volunteering
  • Organisation and management of voluntary groups
  • Relationships between government and the voluntary sector
  • Funding, including charitable giving
  • Effective programme delivery (planning, processes, evidence)
  • Local area studies

Meta has over thirty years’ experience as a social policy researcher and project manager of both qualitative and quantitative research. She has a particular interest in volunteering, the organisation and management of grassroots organisations and groups, government-voluntary sector relations, funding of the voluntary sector and programme evaluation.

She spent six years as head of the Voluntary and Community Sector Research Section in the Home Office and was responsible for developing and managing a large portfolio of research for policy colleagues in the Active Communities Directorate. As part of her remit she was responsible for developing the survey instrument on volunteering and active communities for the first Citizenship Survey, developing and managing the State of the Sector Panel, carrying out a UK-wide census of befriending and mentoring and commissioning/managing a number of programme evaluations.

As policy strategist at Volunteering England and head of Secretariat for the Commission on the Future of Volunteering she provided high-level evidence-based strategic advice for positioning VE in the public policy environment, including advice on its campaign to secure sustainable funding for volunteer centres, and she planned and managed the Commission’s extensive consultation (36 events and 1,200 participants).

As an independent consultant Meta carried out projects for a wide variety of organisations including the Baring Foundation; Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, City University; Commission for the Compact; Cardiff University/ Crisis/ National Housing Federation, Cardiff University/Department of the Environment; Finance Hub; Institute for Volunteering Research/Volunteering England; NCVO; RSA; Volunteer Now! and Welsh Government

As research manager for Carol Goldstone Associates, a social market research company, she  carried out/managed projects for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Charity Commission, Community Development Foundation, Department for Work and Pensions, National Audit Office, Office of Fair Trading and the Social Research Association.

Over the years she has produced a number of historical studies based mainly on Treasury papers at the National Archive; a meditation on volunteer management; historical accounts of the development of government policy on volunteering; analyses of the development of national and local compacts (mostly with Colin Rochester and Bill Rushbrooke). She was joint editor (with Colin Rochester, George Campbell Gosling and Alison Penn of Understanding the Roots of Voluntary Action (Sussex Academic Press, 2011) and the author of a chapter on government policy on volunteering in Rochester et al., Volunteering and Society in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

She has a long-standing involvement with the Voluntary Action History Society (VAHS; currently as treasurer and conference organiser and previously as chair). She was previously treasurer of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN).

She is currently working on two projects. The first (with Colin Rochester) is a ground-breaking quantitative study of voluntary action in the making PPE for health and social care in England during the coronavirus crisis. Her second is a longstanding historical exploration of the organisation and management of the Association/United Association of Ex-Naval and Military Civil Servants, active between 1903 and 1931 which failed to achieve its only goal, “Colour Service to Count”, the counting of naval and military service towards Civil Service pensions and gratuities.

Sample our work.