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Volunteering is part of Victoria’s identity. Around 2.3 million (or 42.1 per cent) of Victorians over 15 years of age volunteer formally with organisations or informally in their communities.

In 2019 the value of volunteering to Victoria was around $58.1 billion, with an average of 224 hours donated per volunteer. This equates to more than 500 million volunteer hours.1

The volunteer community is large and diverse. Many contributors play a variety of roles.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created great challenges for our volunteering community. But it has also led to a huge wave of compassion, with people connecting and providing support to those most affected in new and different ways.2 This has presented previously unharnessed opportunities but means we need to think differently about how we recognise, value and support volunteering.

The vision for the strategy is for volunteering to build strong, resilient and inclusive communities and better the lives of all Victorians.

Volunteers are at the heart of the community, supporting people across Victoria. People volunteer for healthcare organisations, they sort donated goods at charity stores, they lend a hand at local footy clubs and simply run errands for their neighbours. Volunteering can:

  • encourage economic participation
  • relieve feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • promote social inclusion, cohesion and community resilience.

We see volunteering as a vital part of delivering the Victorian Government’s priorities to build strong and resilient communities. We commit to continuing to support the volunteering community to grow and thrive.

The Strategy will be reviewed and refreshed in 2024 in the context of preparations and planning for the Commonwealth Games and the critical role volunteers will play in its success.

Delivering a volunteering community that supports and benefits people, their communities and organisations

Our goal is to achieve a volunteering community that helps people and organisations to benefit from the broadest possible range of opportunities and experiences.

Large-scale changes have affected the volunteering landscape over recent years. Our shared goals need to maximise meaningful participation. They must also recognise that the volunteer environment now requires greater creativity and flexibility in the way people volunteer – including support for more short-term and episodic volunteering opportunities.

Opportunities to volunteer may not mean face-to-face activity in every case. The supports for volunteers need to be sensitive and attuned to changes in people’s views of their personal health and wellbeing while volunteering.

This strategy recognises the importance of volunteering. Its aim is to reinvigorate and sustain volunteerism in Victoria and to:

  • support a connected and inclusive society
  • build stronger, more resilient communities
  • provide opportunities for people to enrich their lives, and the lives of others, through giving their time and expertise.

Footnotes

[1] State of Volunteering 2020, State of volunteering in Victoria 2020. Retrieved from: https://stateofvolunteering.org.au/victoria/External Link

[2] Trautwein S, Liberatore F, Lindenmeier J, von Schnurbein G 2020, ‘Satisfaction with informal volunteering during the COVID-19 crisis: an empirical study considering a Swiss online volunteering platform’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 49(6): 1142–1151

Reviewed 19 May 2022

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