Volunteers are people who provide a service:
Voluntary work is an important contribution to national life. It meets needs within the community and helps to develop and reinforce social networks and cohesion (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
The pattern of volunteering varies with age and life stage.
The highest rate of volunteering can be found people aged 35-44 years. At these ages people are more likely to be married with children and their higher than average volunteer rate reflects their family commitments. This is most marked for women. Thus, female partners with dependent children had a volunteer rate of 45% compared to 28% for female partners without dependent children.
People born in Australia were more likely to undertake voluntary work than those born outside Australia, 35% and 25% respectively.
The volunteer rate between occupational groups varies considerably. Managers, advanced clerical workers and service workers tend to volunteer more than trades persons, production workers, and labourers (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
There are two broad categories of volunteer:
The occasional volunteer is someone who may be happy to help out with a variety of tasks when specifically asked. The time commitment of the occasional volunteer is not regular. For much of the year they may not be involved but provide voluntary work at special events or when there is a working bee i.e. when the organisations gathers volunteers to undertake maintenance of clubhouse or grounds.
The Assigned Role volunteer is someone who agrees to undertake work on a regular basis (without pay). It is commonplace for this type of volunteer to have a job description. Typical roles that are assigned include but not limited to:
It is exceptionally important to understand why people volunteer. This is particularly so as volunteers are generally becoming harder to find.