Ongoing trends in volunteering in Australian

Ongoing trends in volunteering in Australian
Author/editor: Biddle N & Gray, M
Year published: 2023


This paper provides an analysis of how formal volunteering in Australia was impacted by the pandemic, the characteristics of those who were volunteering in April 2023 as the country continued to recover from the pandemic, the factors associated with the number of hours spent volunteering, and the dynamics of volunteering at different points on the pandemic recovery. The paper makes use of data from COVID-19 Impact Monitoring Series, an Australian longitudinal data set which provides data on volunteering from late-2019 just prior to the pandemic through to April 2022 at which time most of the COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted in Australia, as well as the ongoing ANUpoll series of data that continued asking similar questions after the pandemic and contains information on volunteering as of April 2023.

We find a small but significant increase in volunteering in the 12 months leading up to our most recent survey, though even by then volunteering numbers had not returned to their pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, because those who volunteered in the 12 months leading up to the April 2023 survey volunteered for fewer hours than those who volunteered in the 12 months leading up to the April 2022 survey, we estimate that the total number of hours spent volunteering did not increase in the full year after the pandemic. Females and older Australians continue to volunteer at higher rates than males and those in the middle part of the age distribution. Those with relatively low levels of education are less likely to volunteer, whereas those who live outside of capital cities are more likely to do so than those in capital cities. Mental health and wellbeing also appears to be a barrier to volunteering.

Updated:  30 October 2023/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications