Country Idealist Profiles

Who Volunteers in Australia

Following are statistics about volunteers in Australia. This information is not specific to the Northern Territory alone, it was collected in a country-wide survey in 2006.

Who Volunteers?

  • 34% of the adult population (5.4 million people) volunteer.
  • Slightly more women (36%) than men (32%) volunteer.
  • 44% of those aged 35-44 yrs volunteer, the highest participation level of any age group.

Where do they live?

  • Queensland and the ACT have the highest volunteer participation rate of 38%.
  • Volunteering is more common amongst those living in parts of the state outside the capital city, with a 38% participation rate for outside the capital cities v.s. 32% in the cities.

The four most common types of organisation for which people volunteered were:
1.  Sport and physical recreation
2.  Education and training
3.  Community/welfare
4.  Religious groups

The four most common volunteering activities are:
1.  Fundraising: 48%
2.  Preparing and serving food: 31%
3.  Teaching/providing information: 28% and
4.  Administration: 26%

Many volunteers are also involved in caring for others with special needs, beyond the level of care usually called on in family life.

  • 27% of volunteers were carers compared with 17% of those who were not volunteers and
  • 63% provided informal help to other people in the community (a relative in another household, friend, neighbour, work colleague or other person) compared with 42% of non volunteers.

Why do they do it?

  • Almost two thirds of those who became involved in volunteering in the last 10yrs were asked by someone (35%) or did so because they knew someone involved (29%).
  • They were rarely recruited by the media with only 5% doing so as a response to a media report of an advertisement.
  • Over half of volunteers (52%) reported that at least one of their parents had done voluntary work compared to 23% for those whose parents had not volunteered.
  • The top reason for volunteering was ‘Helping others or the community’ 57%, followed by ‘personal satisfaction’ at 44%, and ‘to do something worthwhile’ at 36%.

Other interesting stats:

  • The total annual hours volunteered was 713 million.
  • The median weekly number of hours volunteered was 1.1hrs.
  • The median annual number of hours volunteered was 56hrs.
  • People who volunteer are more likely to have made a donation than those who are not volunteers (85% compared to 72%).

ABS Voluntary Work, Australia Survey (2006)


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