Exploring the Economic and Social Value of Present Patterns of Volunteering in Australia

Publication type

Conference Paper


Social Policy Research Workshop


Publication date

November 24, 2003


This presentation (later a final report) begins by exploring the concept of volunteering. The term 'volunteer' generally designates a person who provides services or benefits to others for motivations other than financial or material reward. While volunteering takes place under the auspices of formal organisations, we also consider donating labour to emergency services, informal charitable acts, and unpaid care of adults with impairments to fall within the concept of volunteering. This research made use of three sources of data: the ABS Voluntary Work Survey 2000 (which tracks participation on a yearly level), the 1997 national Time Use Survey, and the basic tables of the Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (the latter two which measure daily rates of participation). This presentation highlights which groups of Australians volunteer, and their general preferences in their patterns of volunteering. The research highlights the voluntary activities of people in receipt of income support. Finally, this presentation considers volunteering patterns in Australia in comparative perspective with Canada and selected European countries.

Related Publications



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest