Australian Bureau of Statistics
Voluntary Work (Survey of)
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Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
The first Survey of Voluntary Work was conducted throughout Australia in June 1995. The Australian community relies heavily on volunteers to deliver services. However, until the Survey of Voluntary Work was conducted, the extent of volunteer involvement in the total Australian community had been unmeasured. The information collected in the l Survey of Voluntary Work provides the first true national picture of the types of and amount of voluntary work done in the community through groups or organisations. It provided information on who volunteers, where they work and the amount of time contributed in volunteering. Information about the volunteers, their characteristics as well as their perceptions of the experience of volunteering was also collected.
The major uses for the data will be to:
The information will be used to assist in the planning of voluntary services and in the development of volunteer recruitment and management programs. The results will also be used to quantify the number of people and the time spent in voluntary work and to determine a monetary value of voluntary work. Principal users of the information will be the State and Territory Volunteer Centres, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Australian Institute of Sport, the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education and Training and State and Territory Departments of Employment, Sport, Environment, Emergency and Community Services as well as research organisations.
All usual residents in private households are included in the PSM. The survey covers rural and urban areas across all States and Territories of Australia, except sparsely settled and Indigenous areas, which accounts for approximately 85,000 persons aged 18 years and over. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual States and Territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such persons account for approximately 19% of the population. All persons living in non-private dwellings are excluded.
The scope of the collection includes all persons resident in Australia and aged 18 and over except:
Members of the permanent defence forces are in on scope.
In the PSM, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection. The chance of a person being enumerated at two separate dwellings in the one survey is considered to be negligible
All usual residents are included even if away from the dwelling for six weeks or more.
The collection was conducted using the Population Survey Monitor (PSM) over four quarters, February, May, September and November. It uses all concepts available in the Labour Force Survey.
A Volunteer was defined as someone who willingly gives unpaid help, in the form of time, service or skills, through an organisation or group. An organisation or group is any body with a formal structure. It may be as large as a national charity or as small as a local book club. Purely ad hoc, informal and temporary gatherings of people do not constitute an organisation.
For the scope of the survey Voluntary Work included:
The following were excluded from the scope of the survey:
To retain comparability with past and future surveys, voluntary work for the Olympic Games was excluded from the estimates.
Publication : Voluntary Work, Australia
(ABS Cat No. 4441.0)
Persons aged 18 years and over who had undertaken voluntary work in the 12 months up to November 2000.
Information collected in the survey includes:
Number of volunteers
Number of organisations volunteered for
Whether would have liked more training
Type of training required
Whether reimbursement available for expenses incurred
Concerns about aspects of voluntary work
How long ago first volunteered
Reasons for becoming a volunteer
How first became involved in volunteering
Benefits gained through volunteering
For each organisation a volunteer worked for:
Length of time spent volunteering for organisation
Hours of voluntary work
For Welfare/community and Health organisations:
Groups assisted by organisation
Data can be classified by other variables including:
Relationship in household
States and Territories
Labour force status
Status in employment
Main language spoken at home
Field of study
ABS standard classifications were used for items describing standard demographic, socio-economic, education, labour force, housing, etc characteristics.
Industry - Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) edition 1 - 1 digit level
Occupation - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations First Edition (ASCO FE) from August 1993,
Age - 5 year age groups
Highest education level completed
Household income decile
Personal income decile
Labour force status
Household / family classification
Nature of occupancy
Metropolitan / ex-metropolitan split
Other concepts (summary)
Comments and/or Other Regions
Excludes sparsely settled areas
A survey was run in 1995 as a supplementary survey to the Monthly Population Survey, and another on the Population Survey Monitor through 4 quarters of 2000. There is likely to be a four or five year interval to the next Voluntary Work Survey .
The Survey of Voluntary Work was first conducted throughout Australia in June 1995. Voluntary Work 2000 was conducted in the months of February, May, August and November 2000. The survey sample size was 3,000, totalling 12,000 for the whole year.
Data availability comments
Voluntary Work, Australia (ABS Cat No. 4441.0) was released in June 2001. A standard set of comparable state and territory tables is available, released in September 2001. A Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) is due for release in April 2002. Special tabulations are available for purchase on request.
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This page last updated 11 September 2008