Volunteering in Australia 2022
New landmark research to guide the future of volunteering
Volunteering Australia has published landmark research presenting a full picture of volunteering in Australia as told by volunteers and organisations. The Volunteering in Australia 2022 reports provide insights into why volunteering is declining and how we can address the challenges facing volunteering and explore opportunities to reimagine a future where volunteering in Australia thrives.
As part of the development of the National Strategy for Volunteering, Volunteering Australia has been leading the Volunteering in Australia research project. This seminal research will serve as a core evidence base on contemporary volunteering in Australia, and will inform the development of the National Strategy.
- Volunteering in Australia 2022: The Volunteer Perspective, by the Australian National University Centre for Social Research and Methods
- Volunteering in Australia 2022: The Organisation Perspective, by a consortium of researchers from Curtin University, Griffith University, and the University of Western Australia
The Volunteering in Australia research launch took place on Monday 17 October and we were delighted to be joined by over 290 people. If you were unable to attend, you can access the presentation slides and event recording below.
Volunteering Research Papers Initiative
The Volunteering Research Papers aim to capture evidence on a wide range of topics related to volunteering and outline key insights for policy and practice. The Volunteering Research Papers are peer reviewed, and insights will directly inform the development of the National Strategy for Volunteering.
The Volunteering Research Papers are an initiative of the National Strategy for Volunteering Research Working Group.
Volunteering Research Papers – Round 3
This paper explores research on international development volunteers, and examines the factors associated with personal and professional development of this cohort of volunteers.
Informal volunteering and community-led problem-solving
by Professor Carolyn M. Hendriks, Associate Professor Elise Klein and Dr Sue Regan
This paper examines and highlights the importance of informal volunteering, specifically focusing on community-led initiatives that involve practical problem-solving in Australia. It argues that these grassroots efforts have the potential to provide innovative solutions to complex issues but require research and public policy attention to better understand how to support and regulate informal volunteers effectively.
Volunteering inclusion for people from CALD backgrounds
by Carissa Jedwab
This paper examines volunteering in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, highlighting benefits of volunteering, participation rates among migrant cohorts, and barriers to inclusion.
Volunteering and Mental Health
by Jack McDermott and background research by Dominic O’Neill
This paper reviews the research landscape on the effects of volunteering on mental health, examining the effects of volunteering on the mental health of volunteers and the contributions of volunteers in mental health services.
Factors influencing older adults’ decisions to volunteer
by Associate Professor Tim Windsor, Dr Leeann Mahlo, Professor Susan Gordon, Dr Stephanie Champion and Dr Edoardo Rosso
This paper examines the factors likely to shape older adults’ decisions to start volunteering, using data from an online survey of older South Australians collected in 2021 during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Volunteering Research Papers – Round 2
Methodological approaches to, and challenges of, determining the size, scale, and contribution of volunteer workforces
by Megan Woods and Karen Douglas
This paper examines methodological approaches that can be used to measure and quantify the scope and contributions of volunteer workforces.
The Seven Waves of Volunteering in Australia: a brief history
by Melanie Oppenheimer and Sue Regan
This paper provides a vital yet brief historical overview of volunteering in Australia, framed around seven historical themes or ‘waves’ in chronological succession that make up ‘the Australian way of volunteering’.
Online volunteering: Unlocking untapped potential
by Debbie Haski-Leventhal, Irit Alony, Paul Flemons, and Adam Woods
This paper provides an overview of online volunteering, examining research on the issues and challenges of online volunteering, motivations to volunteer online, and the potential of online opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion in volunteering.
This paper examines the psychological hazards present in volunteer roles, with a focus on regional volunteer involving organisations comprised entirely of volunteers. It summarises research on the mental health and well-being impacts of volunteering and the implications of existing work, health, and safely laws for volunteers.
Surviving and Thriving from the Volunteer Involvement in Mega-Sport Events
by Tracey Dickson and Simon Darcy
This paper examines the motivations, skills-development outcomes, and legacies of volunteer involvement in mega-sport events, outlining strategies to ensure that these events benefit volunteering in the long-term.
Applying insights from behavioural economics to increase volunteering
by Swee-Hoon Chuah
This paper applies behavioural insights from research on charitable giving to volunteering activity, identifying implications for policy and practice and outlining recommendations to increase participation in volunteering.
Drawing on systematic and scoping searches of the academic and grey literature, a thematic review of relevant papers, and a critical evaluation to identify scope for new enquiry, this paper offers a brief overview and short critical review volunteering research in Australia.
This paper presents four alternative, plausible, future scenarios for emergency volunteering, and outlines the major trends and uncertainties that stakeholders expect to shape the future of this volunteering.
Volunteering Research Papers – Round 1
The great (volunteer) resignation: An evidence-based strategy for retaining volunteers
by Vivien Forner, Djurre Holtrop, Darja Kragt, and Anya Johnson
A review and analysis of current research on volunteer turnover, this paper presents evidence-based recommendations for key actions that will have the greatest impact on minimising turnover rates in volunteer involving organisations.
Corporate volunteering: implications for policy and practice
by Debbie Haski-Leventhal
This paper summarises available research on corporate volunteering in Australia. It outlines the main styles of employee volunteering programs, motivations for employers, employees, not-for-profits, and the community to participate, and the main determinants of success in corporate volunteering initiatives.
Without leadership there is no volunteering: The importance of strategic investment in leadership development in Australia
by Darja Kragt, Sarah Wilson, Toby Newstead, and Vivien Forner
This paper reviews existing scholarly evidence on effective volunteer leadership, examining key challenges faced by Leaders of Volunteers in Australia and the role volunteer leadership development can play in addressing these challenges.
This paper presents data on grassroots organisations, small groups of volunteers who come together for leisure and social connectedness, arguing that membership numbers of these associations are declining with fewer members willing to step up and become leaders. The paper also identifies why, or why not, members choose to nominate as leaders, with many research participants reporting disturbing experiences while serving on committees.
This paper presents a synthesis of key research on ethno-religious intra-community volunteering in a pluralistic civil society – with a particular focus on volunteering in Australian Muslim communities, highlighting the multiple personal and social benefits of volunteering within ethno-religious community contexts.
Understanding motivations to volunteer
by Arthur Stukas and Sarah Wilson
This paper summarises the literature on volunteer motivations, discussing the relationship between motivations and other aspects of the volunteering experience, including retention, satisfaction, and wellbeing.
Emergency volunteering: leading engagement and retention
by Amber Tsai, Toby Newstead, and Gemma Lewis
This paper reviews research on volunteer leadership development in emergency response organisations, detailing recommendations for both leaders of volunteers and for researchers.
This paper examines the prevalence and intensity of formal voluntary work provided through an organisation in Australia using long-run nationally representative data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, finding that volunteering participation in Australia generally declined from 2001 to 2020.
Over 200 people attended the Volunteering Research Papers Initiative Launch on Tuesday 27 February. The online event was introduced by the Chair of the National Strategy for Volunteering Research Working Group, Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, and included a series of brief presentations in which contributing authors highlighted the findings and policy and practice implications of their research. If you were unable to attend, you can access a video recording of the event below.
Volunteering in Australia Early Findings
Volunteering Australia is currently leading the Volunteering in Australia research project, which will produce a series of reports that will serve as a core evidence base on contemporary volunteering in Australia. The research will also be used to inform the development of the National Strategy for Volunteering.
Volunteering in Australia Research – The Organisation Perspective
The organisation survey was undertaken from May to June 2022 and we have produced an Early Findings Report that summarises the key findings.
The Volunteering in Australia Research Early Findings from the Organisation Perspective launch event took place on Monday 15 August and we were delighted to be joined by over 150 people. If you were unable to attend, you can access the presentation slides and video recording below.
Volunteering in Australia Research – The Volunteer Perspective
The population survey was undertaken in April 2022 and we have produced an Early Insights Report that summarises the key findings.
The Volunteering in Australia Research Early Insights from the Volunteer Perspective launch event took place on Thursday 19 May and we were delighted to be joined by over 200 people. If you were unable to attend, you can access a video recording of the event below.