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Information for Volunteers

Volunteering is the practice of people working on behalf of others or a particular cause without payment for their time and services. Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but people also volunteer for their own skill development and to have fun.

Volunteering takes many forms and is performed by a wide range of people. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work in, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Other volunteers serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster or for a beach-cleanup. People choose to volunteer for varied reasons. Just some of the reasons why people choose to volunteer are:

  • Get recognition;
  • Great career move;
  • Other people need help;
  • See if your degree suits you;
  • Way to meet new people;
  • Work on your English skills.

In 2001, The International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) formerly adopted a Universal Declaration on Volunteering (90KB PDF). IAVE challenges volunteers and leaders of all sectors throughout the world to unite as partners to promote and support effective volunteering, accessible to all, as a symbol of solidarity among all peoples and nations. IAVE invites the global volunteer community to study, discuss, endorse and bring into being this Universal Declaration on Volunteering.

If you are interested in volunteering, use the Gladstone Region Volunteering website to lookup available positions in your area, and start volunteering now!

Interesting Volunteering Statistics

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.

What do volunteers do?

The four most common types of organisation for which people volunteered were:

  • Sport and physical recreation
  • Education and training
  • Community/welfare
  • Religious groups.

The four most common volunteering activities are:

  • Fundraising: 48%
  • Preparing and serving food: 31%
  • Teaching/providing information: 28% and
  • 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%).

The above figures were gathered from the latest ABS Voluntary Work, Australia Survey (2006) released in July 2007.

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