BACKGROUND COLOUR

The pandemic pause in volunteering

Around a third of Australians freely give their time as volunteers. But there has been a very large fall in volunteering due to COVID-19 with two third of volunteers giving up the activity since February 2020.

33 %

A third of Australian adults – 7 million – do some volunteer work.

66 %

Two thirds of volunteers stopped their volunteering activity due to COVID-19.

12 %

The drop in volunteering rates means there are 12 million fewer hours a week spent volunteering.

70 %

NSW had the highest proportion of people – 70% – who stopped volunteering.

Per cent of Australians who Volunteered in the Previous 12 Months (April 2020)
Have you spent any time doing voluntary work through an organisation or group over the last 12-months?
Sources & Methodology
Variable description By sex and age In stating volunteer work, Include: voluntary work for sporting teams, youth groups, schools, or religious organisations. Exclude: work in a family business or paid employment; work to qualify for a government benefit or to obtain an educational qualification ; work due to a community/court order.
Variable time span 2020 (April)
Published by ANU Poll
Publisher Link https://csrm.cass.anu.edu.au/research/publications/experience-volunteers-during-early-stages-covid-19-pandemic
Data Source doi:10.26193/HLMZNW
CSV Data
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Just over seven million Australians were volunteering in late 2019.

Just over seven million Australians were volunteering in late 2019. Slightly more female than males volunteer, and the volunteer population is slightly older than the population who don't volunteer.

Volunteers have relatively high levels of education with 46 per cent of them having a postgraduate degree, and those who live outside a capital city are slightly more likely to have volunteered than those in capital cities.

Per cent of Volunteers who Reported they had Stopped Volunteering since the Spread of COVID-19 (April 2020)
Since February 2020, have you stopped volunteering / unpaid work to minimise COVID-19 transmission?
Sources & Methodology
Variable description % who responded 'yes', by sex and age
Variable time span 2020 (April)
Published by ANU Poll
Publisher Link https://csrm.cass.anu.edu.au/research/publications/experience-volunteers-during-early-stages-covid-19-pandemic
Data Source doi:10.26193/HLMZNW
CSV Data
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The volunteer population has much the same attitude to the non-volunteer population when it comes to concerns about COVID-19.

The volunteer population has much the same attitude to the non-volunteer population when it comes to concerns about COVID-19. There was very little difference in whether they think they'll get infected over the next six months or the level of concern they have for family members. They were no more or less likely to report they had engaged in physical distancing.

However a slightly smaller per cent of volunteers (64 per cent) say they were anxious or worried about COVID-19 than non-volunteers (68 per cent).

While the level of concern was similar, what has changed is the number of volunteers joining the non- volunteering population, for a while at least, because of COVID-19. A large number - two thirds had stopped volunteering or other unpaid work since February 2020.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, on average a volunteer spends two and half hours per week volunteering, so this means the drop in the number of volunteers is equal to the loss of 12.2 million hours a week.

Five per cent more females stopped volunteering than males, and those aged over 65 were more likely to have stopped than those younger.

Per cent of Volunteers who Reported they had Stopped Volunteering since the Spread of COVID-19 (April 2020)
Since February 2020, have you stopped volunteering / unpaid work to minimise COVID-19 transmission?
Sources & Methodology
Variable description By state/territory
Variable time span 2020 (April)
Published by ANU Poll
Publisher Link https://csrm.cass.anu.edu.au/research/publications/experience-volunteers-during-early-stages-covid-19-pandemic
Data Source doi:10.26193/HLMZNW
CSV Data
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When it comes to looking at volunteers in different states, New South Wales had the higher proportion of people who stopped volunteering.

When it comes to looking at volunteers in different states, New South Wales had the higher proportion of people who stopped volunteering because of COVID-19. Queensland had the lowest proportion of the States.

There is uncertainty about the Northern Territory figures because of the sample sizes but it can be said that volunteers in Queensland and the Northern Territory appear less likely to stop their activity than those in other States and the ACT.