State of Volunteering Report

The methodology used in this report was first undertaken in Tasmania in 2014, in Western Australia in 2015 and again in Tasmania in 2019. Iterations of the method have also been successfully applied to economy-wide valuations of public–private goods such as sport and physical recreation, live music, the Arts, and major events.

Volunteering is defined here as ‘Time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.’ This definition was developed by Volunteering Australia in 2015 and adopted by all volunteering peak bodies from all states and territories.


In this report, volunteering includes both:

  • formal volunteering where someone volunteers with an organisation, association, club, corporation or government, and
  • informal volunteering where an individual is not associated with another entity, but still gives time for the common good to the community.
Data collection

Victorian resident survey

Myriad Research conducted an online survey in May 2020 of 1,006 Victorian residents aged 15 years and over. Although most questions related to respondents’ volunteering during the 2019 calendar year, the data collection window allowed us to probe further with comparative questions about their volunteering during the initial, statewide COVID-19 restrictions period (‘the previous one month’).

The survey used quotas to ensure a broad and generally representative sample across gender, age, household income and location. Results were post-weighted to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data on Victorian age and gender distribution to ensure the data for this research reflects the overall profile of Victorian communities.

Limitations – The survey asked about gender, age, income and location to ensure representativeness of the sample. However, datasets are too small to derive reliable information specifically about these groups and factors.

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Data collection

Volunteer-involving organisation

Volunteering Victoria was supported by the Institute of Project Management to conduct an online survey of its database of VIOs across April-June 2020. The survey was distributed widely through multiple channels, and the respondents self-selected by answering the survey. Respondents were asked about the period of 2019 and separately about the impact of the COVID restrictions on their organisation’s volunteering.

There were 315 valid responses received in the survey period, including 203 who provided financial data. Respondents came from all parts of the State, a variety of sectors and involved anywhere between 1 and 22,000 volunteers. Hence, a reasonable cross-section of respondents was achieved.

Limitations – As the total size and composition of all the VIOs in Victoria was not known at the time of the survey, no assumptions are made as to its representativeness.

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Project Partners

Victorian Volunteer Strategy

The State of Volunteering in Victoria (2020) Report is a flagship initiative of the Victorian Volunteering Strategy.