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Barriers need to be removed, Volunteering Australia report shows

New Volunteering Australia data released today confirms that volunteering rates in NSW and across Australia are under pressure and those organisations need to better align volunteering opportunities with the interests of prospective volunteers.

In line with the recent ABS data signifying a 5% decline in volunteering over the past 5 years, the State of Volunteering in Australia report indicates that volunteers are feeling the pressure, that they are time poor and those barriers to volunteering need to be removed.

The Volunteering Australia State of Volunteering in Australia 2016 report, compiled with the assistance of PwC, analyses the findings from a national survey of 2,304 volunteers, volunteer-involving organisations and, for the first time, corporations.

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said  volunteering was a crucial factor in building healthy communities so any barrier to community participation was concerning.

“Australians are still keen volunteers with 5.8 million Australians (or 31%) volunteering in the past 12 months,” Ms Rygate said

“Alarmingly though, the report shows that Australians are facing greater barriers to volunteering than in the past.”

Current volunteers are loyal to the cause, with 99% of volunteers surveyed likely to continue volunteering in the future and, in NSW in particular, 48% of those surveyed have been involved for 5 years or more.

33% of volunteers surveyed in NSW are aged 65+ and only 15% were aged less than 34 suggesting potential issues for recruitment into the future.

“This raises questions about whether our social capital is being eroded, and what can be done given volunteers contribute $16billion to our economy each year.”

Ms Rygate said it’s important to highlight that modern volunteering need not be time-consuming, including online and one-off volunteering.

“It’s about finding the right fit for your life and volunteer matching organisations like The Centre for Volunteering provide that service,” she said.

The report provides perspectives from both volunteers and volunteer involving organisations about the barriers to entry, notably that:

  • there is a disconnect between the volunteering roles that people are interested in and the roles that organisations are offering
  • volunteers are deterred from volunteering because of lack of flexibility, personal expenses incurred, lack of reimbursement for out of pocket expenses, and burdensome administrative requirements
  • volunteer involving organisations (VIOs) generally lack resources, both human and financial, inhibiting their ability to engage volunteers with barriers (e.g. people with a disability, people with language barriers). Lack of resources may also reduce an organisation’s capability for reward and recognition of their existing volunteer base.

Download the following State of Volunteering documents:

Media Release State of Volunteering Report.

State of Volunteering in Australia Full ReportState of Volunteering in Australia Full Report

State of Volunteering in Australia Executive Summary

For media enquiries, please contact CEO of The Centre for Volunteering, Ms Gemma Rygate on 02 9261 3600.