Volunteers play a crucial part in the support and running of community organisations. About 700,000 non-profit organisations operate in Australia, of which about 35,000 employ staff. The remainder are mostly small organisations entirely dependent on the voluntary commitment of members. The management and development of volunteers and volunteering is key to the sustainability of a skilled and involved volunteer workforce.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics produced an overview of Voluntary Work in Australia in 2010, which gives a snapshot of the importance of voluntary work to national life. In 2010:
- 36.2% of people aged 18 years and over participated in formal volunteering (6.1 million people).
- 20% of people aged 18 years and over provided care to someone with a disability, long-term illness or problems associated with old age.
- 49% of people provided informal assistance to people not living in the same household.
- The total value of volunteering to the Australian economy was estimated at AU$200 Billion
While volunteering has a substantial positive impact on society as a whole, it also provides significant benefits to the volunteers themselves. Some of these personal benefits include learning new skills, meeting new people and developing confidence. There are also many mental health benefits to volunteering.
Volunteering Queensland is the peak body for volunteering in Queensland. Along with a wealth of publications and research, they maintain a database for linking volunteers and volunteer opportunities. You can access these services by choosing "I need volunteers" or "I want to volunteer".
Other useful links for volunteer managers include: