Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good & without financial gain
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Explanatory notes for definition
Volunteering is part of the wider concept of civic participation.
These notes clarify what Volunteering Australia considers volunteering is, but also lists a number of somewhat similar activities or areas that are outside of volunteering. These may also act as pathways for people to become volunteers.
The term ‘volunteering’ covers a wide diversity of activities in Australian society. It includes formal volunteering that takes place within organisations (including institutions and agencies) in a structured way and informal volunteering, acts that take place outside the context of a formal organisation.
While the vast majority of volunteering is undertaken by individuals, entities also donate employee time and this is included within this definition of volunteering.
Consideration of the term volunteering needs to also note best practice guidelines. Volunteering should not be exploitative, or be used to replace paid employment. While volunteering provides substantial benefits to society, importantly it also provides significant benefits to volunteers themselves. The personal benefits of volunteering need to be recognised and fostered.
- Definition of volunteering FAQs (July 2015)
- Definition of volunteering FAQs supplement (May 2017)
- Full information about the new definition
- Issues paper (December 2014) – A sub-committee of researchers on the national steering committee, produced an issues paper to provide stakeholders with an understanding of the dimensions of volunteering both here in Australia and globally.
Photo: QUT Big Lift