Volunteering Australia’s priorities, decisions, policies, and activities are informed by evidence and research, and we actively seek to support the research that is needed to advance volunteering policy and practice.
Our research agenda
Our aims for 2021 have been to ensure our current policy and advocacy work is informed by research evidence and to lay the foundations for future research. We have pursed these aims through internal research and data analysis and leveraging external relationships.
National Volunteering Research Network
Volunteering Australia is excited to be establishing a new National Volunteering Research Network. The network aims to facilitate the sharing of information and knowledge between researchers and members of the wider volunteering ecosystem. The National Volunteering Research Network should lead to greater collaboration and enhance research translation and policy engagement to advance volunteering in the Australian community.
We are keen to hear from the volunteering research community what you think would be useful from a network. The first meeting of the network was held on 23 September with 40 attendees including Co-Chairs Professor Kirsten Holmes and Associate Professor Leonie Lockstone-Binney. If you’re interested in attending or learning more, please contact Maddie Dorin who will be providing the secretariat for the network.
COVID-19 impact research program
The COVID-19 impact research program aims to understand how COVID-19 is affecting volunteering and to provide evidence for our Reinvigorating Volunteering advocacy campaign.
Our partnership with ANU CSRM has resulted in two outputs:
- ‘Early impact of COVID-19 on volunteering’ (May 2020)
- ‘Volunteering during the first year of COVID-19’ (May 2021)
We have also published factsheets and a report ‘Re-engaging Volunteers and COVID-19’ drawing on our own stakeholder surveys and official ABS data.
We are currently scoping the next stage of this research considering changing COVID-19 conditions.
The Story Project (Scanlon Foundation)
The Story Project aims to recognise the breadth of volunteering that takes place within different communities in Australia, and to profile the forms of activities and practices that may be unrecognised or unacknowledged for falling outside our dominant conceptions of volunteering.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Story Project, please contact Heba Al Adawy.
Developing external research partnerships
Volunteering Australia is developing external research partnerships to meet critical knowledge gaps.
We are a partner organisation on the ARC Linkage project Developing a National Rural Volunteering Roadmap which will investigate the challenges affecting rural volunteering in Australia.
We are further developing academic partnerships in relation to a number of research proposals awaiting funding or that are under development.
Data Factsheets & Evidence Reviews
Our Data Factsheets and Evidence Reviews aim to interpret and synthesise volunteering data and research for use in our and the State and Territory peak policy and advocacy work and to inform the work of the wider volunteering ecosystem.
We have produced several factsheets drawing primarily on new official ABS data. We will be undertaking further analysis of official data and will continue to work on evidence reviews of existing research and the identification of research gaps.
Volunteering in Australia Research
A future Volunteering in Australia research project will aim to produce a comprehensive picture of trends, demographics, challenges and innovations in volunteering and to understand the contemporary value of volunteering (social and economic). A key aim will also be to understand better the characteristics of the decline in formal volunteering and to explore the feasibility of a volunteering index or indices.
Below are examples of some of the research projects Volunteering Australia has been a part of.
- COVID-19 Research
- Corporate Volunteering in Australia: a snapshot
- Volunteering and Settlement in Australia: A Snapshot
- The Value of Volunteering Support Services
- State of Volunteering
- Giving Australia 2016
- Volunteering to Learn
- Evaluating the volunteering infrastructure legacy of the Olympic Games: Sydney 2000 and London 2012