50 Key Messages – Volunteering

Volunteering Australia’s National Volunteering Conference kicks off today so what a great time to talk about the wonderful people that enable so many of our community organisations to run every day.

Overall, 43.7% of Australians volunteered an average of 134 hours (median was 55 hours). This equates to a total of 932 million hours for the Australian population. Women were more likely to be volunteers than men (46.9% vs. 40.3%) as were those aged between 35 and 54 years. However, older volunteers contributed the most time on average (193 hours in the year – that’s 3.7 hours a week).

Couples with dependent children living at home had the highest volunteering rates (51.8%), followed by those living in a group household of related adults and children (50.9%). Those living alone contributed the most hours on average over the year (176 hours), followed by couples with no children at home (158 hours) and couples with independent children living at home (153 hours).

While our volunteers are valued for all their contributions they give with their time, they also give more than non-volunteers financially too. Some 87.4% of volunteers also made at least one monetary donation. Those who were volunteers, as well as monetary donors, gave, on average, $1,017.11 while those who were monetary donors but were not volunteers gave, on average, $536.69.

The types of organisations for which most respondents commonly volunteered were quite different to those that were most common for donations. In 2016, around one-fifth of volunteers volunteered for primary and secondary education and sports organisations. A further 18.3% volunteered for religious organisations. Health (including medical research), social services and emergency relief were also commonly listed cause areas for volunteers. While women were more likely to be involved in primary and secondary education, men were more likely to volunteer for emergency relief organisations.

The cause area attracting the most volunteers differed according to age group. For those aged 18–24 years, religion, sports, health and social services were the most commonly reported cause areas. Only 3.1% of volunteers in this age group volunteered for environmental organisations, 4.4% for animal protection and 7.5% for international development organisations.

For those aged 35–44 and 45–54 years, the most commonly reported cause areas were primary and secondary education and sports, respectively. For those aged 65 years and older, religion, health and social services were most common.

To read the full reports and factsheets, go to https://www.communitybusinesspartnership.gov.au/about/research-projects/giving-australia-2016/

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