Australia tells us what's important for volunteering and giving data


A need to understand the benefits of and barriers to volunteering and giving and their economic impacts were among the key issues highlighted in the results from a national consultation, published today in an information paper by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The results contained in this information paper are in response to an ABS review of the current methods and scope of volunteering and giving data collection.

Emily Walter, Director of ABS Household Characteristics and Social Reporting, said: "Understanding the contribution Australians make to their community through volunteering activities is critically important to ongoing policy and future planning, as well as understanding pathways to employment.

"From the national discussion paper, which the ABS launched in April 2017, we heard that people feel it is important to know about informal volunteering, what motivates or prevents people from volunteering, and how people were volunteering.

"They are interested in the economic impact of volunteering and the ways volunteering provides skills and benefits for the volunteers themselves. They are also interested in how to maximise the data already collected by not-for-profits and other agencies to provide a better picture of national volunteering activity."

Volunteering covers a wide range of formal and informal activities, including activism, donated employee time, online volunteering, spontaneous volunteering (such as community response to an emergency), and social enterprise.

"The ABS received 32 high quality submissions from government, community, private and not-for-profit organisations and individuals in response to the Discussion Paper," Ms Walter said.

"We are very grateful for the expertise and detail provided by those who prepared a submission on this important topic."

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