Volunteering sector hit hard during COVID

  • by Kate Bowman
  • February 16, 2021

A media release by Volunteering Australia earlier today details the significant impacts the global pandemic has made on the volunteering sector reporting that 72% of volunteer programs are still not fully operational.

Volunteering Australia’s ‘Re-engaging Volunteers and COVID-19’ survey, received nearly 600 responses over December 2020 and January 2021, highlighting some worrying statistics. During the height of the pandemic last year, two out of every three volunteers stopped volunteering. This is a loss equivalent to 12.2 million hours per week.

According to the survey, the biggest challenge preventing organisations from re-engaging or recruiting more volunteers was that their volunteers tended to be older or in vulnerable groups. This would certainly ring true for many palliative care volunteer services.

Volunteering Australia CEO Mark Pearce said that volunteers make a huge contribution to Australia’s social and economic well-being and are now needed more than ever to ensure stability and recovery in the wake of COVID-19,

“Volunteering is time freely given, but enabling volunteering is not free. Volunteers need induction, training and ongoing management and support. The role of volunteers in Australia needs to be recognised, supported and resourced.”

Volunteering Australia is approaching policymakers asking for their commitment to reinvigorate volunteering. The hope will be that together they will find ways to make volunteering easier and more accessible for all.

Click here to read their full report – “Re-engaging Volunteers and COVID-19”.

Photo (Volunteering QLD): Volunteering Australia CEO Mike Pearce

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