Volunteer survey

Volunteering in South Australia survey

  • More than 900,000 South Australians volunteer.
  • 66% of the South Australian population aged between 15 and 84.
  • An estimated contribution of  1.73 million hours per week.

The Volunteering in South Australia in 2018 survey report (PDF 2MB), conducted by Harrison Research and involving more than 1,500 respondents aged 15 years or over, reveals that volunteer participation in South Australia continues to remain high with more than 66% of the population involved in some form of volunteering.

The 2018 report results show that an estimated 906,000 South Australians donate their time and energy to contribute to the community.

Approximately 45% of respondents volunteered formally with a local community organisation or group, while 46% volunteered on an informal basis (for example childminding or helping a non-relative with yard or home maintenance).

These efforts contribute to an estimated 1.73 million volunteer hours per week.

Other interesting results from the 2018 survey are that:

  • Formal volunteering is more common among those who:
    • are aged between 35 and 54 years
    • reside in regional South Australia (56% compared to 42% of metropolitan residents)
    • are married or in a 'de facto' relationship.
    • are in a ‘couple family’ (two parents with at least one child in the home)
    • are in paid employment
  • In 2018, sports and physical recreation groups were the most common type of organisation where South Australians have formally volunteered in the last 12 months (38% up from 29% in 2016). Other types of organisations commonly volunteered for (in the last 12 months) included welfare and community groups (23%,), education or training groups (20%) and religious groups (13%).
  • The most common roles formal volunteers spent the most time in were management/committee work/co-ordination (23%, an increase from 19% in 2016), teaching/instructing/providing information (15%), preparing/serving food (15%) and administration/clerical/recruitment work (15%).
  • The two most common reasons for volunteering were unchanged from previous research, specifically these key reasons are to 'help others or help the community' (31%) and to 'give something back' (13%).
  • Almost all formal volunteers surveyed in 2018 (99%) identified personal benefits to their formal volunteering activities, the most common of these were ‘personal satisfaction’ (48%), ‘friendship’ (33%) and ‘feel part of the community (22%).
  • Among those who do not formally volunteer the main reasons cited for not volunteering were 'work commitments' (43%), 'family commitments' (23%, down from 27% in 2016) and health problems/physically unable’ (16%, up from 11% in 2016). One in six non-volunteers (16%) said they were quite  likely or very likely to engage in formal volunteering activities in the next 12 months.
  • Only 14% of formal volunteers stated they use their volunteer work to gain employment. However, 60% felt that volunteer work was helpful in gaining employment and 86% stated that volunteer experience should be listed on job applications.
  • Regardless of whether or not they engage in volunteering activities almost all South Australian residents surveyed (98%) were able to identify at least one benefit to the community from volunteering. Over one quarter (29%) stated that volunteering 'builds community spirit and facilitates social cohesion', 26% stated that 'people get help they would otherwise not get', and 22% said it was ‘beneficial to people’s and/or the wider community’s well-being’.
  • Summary on 18–24 year old age bracket

  • Rates of formal and informal volunteering were in line with the total sample (no significant difference)
    • Those within this age group who do not formally volunteer were more likely to state it is because:
      • Their study commitments are too time consuming (37% vs 8% of non-volunteers)
      • They have no interest in volunteering (16% vs 5%), and
      • They do not know how to become involved (12% vs 3%)

  • 18–24 year old formal volunteers were:

  • Twice as likely to be volunteering their time in fundraising/sales for the organisation they volunteer for the most (14% vs 7% of all formal volunteers)
  • Significantly less likely to be in a management/committee work/ coordination role (8% vs 23% of all formal volunteers)
  • Less likely to state that they volunteer at least once a week throughout the year (24% vs 44% of all formal volunteers) and more likely to state they volunteer several times through the season/part of the year (14% vs 5% of all formal volunteers)
  • More likely to have become involved in volunteering via:
    • Involvement with a club/association (41% vs 26% of all formal volunteers)
    • A family history/culture of volunteering (28% vs 11% of all formal volunteers)
  • More likely to indicate their main reason for volunteering is to gain work experience (7% vs 1% of all formal volunteers)
  • More likely to use formal volunteering experience to gain employment (38% vs 14% of all volunteers) but were on par with the total sample when asked to what extent they feel volunteering is helpful in gaining employment (mean rating of 4 out of 5 compared to 3.8 across all formal volunteers)
  • Were more likely to identify the following as personal benefits of volunteering:
    • Improved skills - communication (38% vs 14% all formal volunteers)
    • Improved skills – teamwork (32% vs 12%)
    • Increased self-esteem/self-worth (21% vs 9%)
    • Improved skills - initiative and enterprise (19% vs 4%)
    • Broader outlook (17% vs 6%)