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National Volunteer Week - 2006 Issues Survey

22 May 2006 at 1:05 pm
Staff Reporter
Volunteering Australia’s first national volunteering issues survey, which was released as part of National Volunteer Week, has identified attracting volunteers as the top concern facing Not for Profit organisations.

Staff Reporter | 22 May 2006 at 1:05 pm


National Volunteer Week - 2006 Issues Survey
22 May 2006 at 1:05 pm

Volunteering Australia’s first national volunteering issues survey, which was released as part of National Volunteer Week, has identified attracting volunteers as the top concern facing Not for Profit organisations.

The survey, conducted over two months earlier this year, which looked at the experience and environment that Not for Profit organisations provide for volunteers, also found that 32% of volunteers surveyed were recruited through a friend or relative and only 14% through advertising.

The Volunteering Issues survey asked organisations and volunteers to rate multiple issues according to their importance. 8 out of 10 volunteers surveyed said that they were looking for skills development and flexible working hours from their volunteering.

Sha Cordingley, CEO Volunteering Australia says that although volunteering is growing every year, recruitment remains a perennial issue for Australia’s Not for Profit organisations, 95% of whom rely solely on volunteers for their continued existence.

Cordingley says many volunteers today are looking for different kinds of roles – often short-term and project-based – and for the sector to stay ahead of the game it must meet these needs without compromising the work and the lives of those that rely on us.

The aims of survey were twofold: to gather detailed information about how both public policy issues and volunteer management practices are experienced by volunteers and Not for Profit organisations and to provide an opportunity for volunteers and organisations to raise issues relating to volunteering that may be emerging or new issues.

The report presents data on many issues relating to volunteering, including relationships between paid staff and volunteers, the rate of adoption of best practice volunteer management approaches. It also considers where shortfalls may exist in the provision of information resources which address volunteering issues.

Some 601 volunteers and 572 volunteer-involving organisations commenced the survey, with 373 volunteers and 341 organisations completing the survey. The survey respondents are from all Australian states and territories.

Volunteers and organisations from metropolitan areas were most likely to participate in the survey (61% of volunteers and 57% of organisations are from metropolitan areas).
Respondents were drawn from national organisations, locally based organisations and organisations confined to single states or territories. Volunteer respondents were more likely to volunteer with national organisations (44% of volunteers surveyed) while organisations were more likely to be locally based (45% of organisations surveyed).

Results highlights include:
– 97% of organisations surveyed rate volunteer recruitment as an issue of importance to their organisation.
– 81% of volunteers surveyed ‘would personally appreciate’ having their volunteer work recognised in the form of opportunities to develop their skills.
– 79% of volunteers surveyed identified flexible volunteering hours as important to them.
– 23% of organisations surveyed identified their organisation as having implemented the National Standards for Involving Volunteers in Not for Profit Organisations
– 42% of volunteers surveyed do not have a clear, written job description for their role.
– 28% of volunteers surveyed said that they have been aware of confusion, uncertainty or conflict between the roles of volunteers and paid employees in their organisation.

The survey says that taken as a whole, the results indicate that many ‘best practice’ volunteer management strategies are being adopted by volunteer-involving organisations, but that for many organisations there is some way to go in terms of ensuring volunteers experience the full benefits of these approaches.

If you would like an electronic version of the report in PDF format just send us an email with the words VA National Survey on Volunteering Issues 2006 in the subject line to

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