Volunteering Australia’s CEO, Mark Pearce shares a special message to thank the millions of volunteers across the nation.
“We encourage all Australians to take a moment to think about the contribution of the millions of volunteers in our country and the importance of volunteering in creating stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient communities.On behalf of Volunteering Australia, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the volunteers throughout our country. We sincerely believe that together through volunteering, we’re changing communities for the better. We most certainly are, Better Together.”
Celebrating the value of volunteering this National Volunteer Week
Professor Michael E. Drew, Chair Volunteering Australia
Volunteering Australia Chair, Professor Michael E. Drew shares a message celebrating the value of volunteering as published by the Australian Community Media in the lead up to National Volunteer Week.
National Volunteer Week is a chance to recognise the vital work of volunteers and to say thank you. This year’s theme is ‘Better Together’ as we celebrate the power of volunteering to bring people together, build communities and create a better society for everyone.
Volunteering is widespread and diverse with millions of people volunteering every year to support communities across the country. In 2020, over 5 million people (a quarter of Australians) volunteered through an organisation. Nearly a third of Australians (over 6.5 million people) volunteered informally in the community.
Volunteers are a vital part of the nation’s workforce. Volunteers play essential roles aged, disability and palliative care and in mental health and community services. Volunteers are central to emergency response, recovery and resilience-building. Volunteers are the backbone of community sport.
With flooding, fires and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, the past year has undoubtably been tough for all Australians. Our communities have taken a big hit in recent times and yet volunteers are always there when we need them. Communities with active volunteers have strong social capital and are more resilient when crises hit
Volunteering contributes significantly to Australian life, including to the social and economic functions which support Australia’s productivity performance and the wellbeing of Australians.
Volunteers add significant value to the Australian economy, with the most recent official estimate valuing the annual contributions of volunteers in non-profit institutions at $17.3 billion.
However, this figure likely underestimates the broader economic value of volunteering. For example, this valuation does not account for the preventive health and wellbeing benefits of volunteering, through its facilitation of community and social connection. Volunteering also supports the broader not-for-profit sector, which employs 1.38 million people, about 11 per cent of all employees, in Australia. These roles are supported by the efforts of 3.6 million volunteers in Australian charities.
When the broader commercial and civic benefits of volunteering were considered, a recent valuation of volunteering in the New South Wales State of Volunteering report found that every dollar invested in volunteering generated a social return on investment of $3.30.
Volunteering Australia is passionate about the value of volunteering and its power to support communities and improve our health and wellbeing. If we care about the nation’s mental health and the resilience of communities, we need to care about sustaining volunteering.
I encourage everyone to join us in celebrating the significant contribution made by millions of volunteers across Australia this National Volunteer Week.