Volunteering Australia’s priorities, decisions, policies, and activities are informed by evidence and research. We actively seek to support the research that is needed to advance volunteering policy and practice.
Our research agenda
Our aims for 2023 have been to ensure our current policy and advocacy work is informed by research evidence, to support the establishment of the National Strategy for Volunteering, and to lay the foundations for future research.
National Volunteering Research Network
Volunteering Australia established a new National Volunteering Research Network in 2021. 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 policy engagement to advance volunteering in the Australian community.
Professor Kirsten Holmes and Professor Leonie Lockstone-Binney are the current Co-chairs of the network.
If you are undertaking research relevant to volunteering in an academic setting or elsewhere, and would like to join the network, please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteering in Australia research
As part of the development of the National Strategy for Volunteering, Volunteering Australia led and published the Volunteering in Australia 2022 reports. The Volunteering in Australia research is a landmark research project that provides insights into why volunteering is declining and how we can address the challenges facing volunteering. Published reports are available on the National Strategy for Volunteering website.
COVID-19 impact research program
The COVID-19 impact research program aims to understand how COVID-19 affected volunteering.
Our partnership with ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods has resulted in five outputs, to date:
- ‘Early impact of COVID-19 on volunteering’ (May 2020)
- ‘Volunteering during the first year of COVID-19’ (May 2021)
- ‘Continuity and change: volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (December 2021)
- Volunteering in Australia 2022: The Volunteer Perspective (October 2022)
- Ongoing trends in volunteering in Australia (October 2023)
We have also published factsheets and two reports:
- ‘Re-engaging Volunteers and COVID-19’ drawing on our own stakeholder surveys and official ABS data.
- Continuity and change: volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic
If you are interested in learning more about this research, contact Jack McDermott: email@example.com
Informal Volunteering and The Story Project (Scanlon Foundation)
The Story Project aimed 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.
The final report The Story Project: Australian Multiculturalism Through the Prism of (Informal) Volunteering was published in May 2023.
We are currently undertaking further work on informal volunteering. An Informal Volunteering Landscape paper and a Factsheet on informal volunteering will be published soon.
If you’re interested in learning more about informal volunteering and/or 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 two ARC (Australian Research Council) Linkage projects:
- Community volunteerism and resilience to loneliness amongst older Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.
Data Factsheets & Evidence Reviews
Our Data Factsheets and Evidence Reviews aim to interpret and synthesise volunteering data and research for use in our policy and advocacy work and to inform the work of the wider volunteering ecosystem.
We have produced several factsheets drawing on a range of data sources. The Volunteering Key Statistics document will be updated early in 2024.
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