The rate of volunteering in Australia is falling for the first time in 20 years, with 75% of people stating they feel rushed or pressed for time1. The good news is that over six million Aussies are still giving up their precious time to give something back to their community2.
So if you haven’t thought about volunteering, why not give it a go?
How volunteering helps
Volunteering provides critical services, products and opportunities in the community which would otherwise need to be paid for. It also helps build our social capital, contributing over $25 billion to the Australian economy in recent years3 .
Why people volunteer
Aussies aged 18 to 84 say they volunteer for a range of reasons, including:
• to help others in the community
• for personal satisfaction
• to do something worthwhile
• to have social contact
• to use their skills and experience
• to meet new people from diverse backgrounds
• to have a sense of purpose
• to contribute to sport, religious and educational activities
• to help community and emergency services4.
How people volunteer
People volunteer their services in a range of ways, such as:
• by contributing regular hours to a community organisation
• through spontaneous volunteering
• through employee volunteer programs, where staff provide unpaid work for a community organisation during work hours.
There are various organisations dedicated to volunteering services, both here and overseas. In Australia, try Go Volunteer for a range of opportunities, Conservation volunteers to find something worthwhile in the outdoors, or Pro Bono Australia to make a contribution ‘for the common good’. Internationally, contact organisations such as Volunteer Abroad or International Volunteer HQ.
Consider becoming a volunteer
Around 95% of people who volunteer say it makes them feel happy─with most people experiencing a “helper’s high”─a powerful physical and emotional feeling experienced when they directly help others5.
But volunteering is not just about making you feel good, it’s about developing new life skills that will benefit you, as well as the people you are helping.
So why not get involved in group volunteer days or volunteer yourself? You’ll feel a lot better for it and you’ll be making a real difference in someone else’s life.
National Volunteer Week
Don’t forget to look out for National Volunteer week, from 9-15 May 2016, which celebrates the contribution volunteers make to our community. Find out more at: http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/nvw/