The economic benefits of volunteering in Victoria

In 2019, it is estimated that volunteering in Victoria enabled at least $58.1 billion worth of benefits across the State. The sum of commercial benefits worth $31.8 billion and civic benefits valued at $26.3 billion. The Gross Value Added of volunteering to the Victorian economy is $8.2 billion, or 1.8% of Victoria’s Gross State Product of $446.1 billion.

Producers’ surplus

$1.2 billion is distributed among all Victorian firms who contribute intermediate (such as partly finished goods and/or services that are used as inputs in the production of other goods and/or services including final goods and/or services) or final goods and/or services that are consumed as a result of volunteering in Victoria, and not just volunteering producers.

Socio-economic impact (in $millions)

Productivity premium

Our study found that 56.9% of volunteers believed their volunteering added an average of 35.9% value to their productivity in their paid employment. Therefore, the extent to which volunteering in Victoria improved the productivity of individuals in 2019 (a benefit enjoyed by their employers) is estimated to be $30.5 billion.


The expenditure associated with volunteering in Victoria is estimated to generate in the order of 71,364 jobs, of which 47,467 are full-time. This refers to jobs created economy-wide and not just in the volunteering sector. This realises a wage benefit of $5.0 billion that is directly returned to households, with an equivalent welfare cost avoided by government.


Volunteering-related expenditure of $8.7 billion (direct costs) generated approximately $1.9 billion in tax revenue for the government.

The costs of volunteering in Victoria

The total social & economic cost of volunteering in Victoria and its related enterprises in 2019 is estimated to be $15.9 billion.

Of these expenses, volunteers reported being reimbursed an average of $212.65 (12.4%). Therefore, on average they were out of pocket by $1,497.11. Once this value is multiplied by the estimated number of volunteers in Victoria, this equates to volunteers in Victoria having net outgoings of approximately $3.9 billion, or $6.69 per volunteer hour.

Volunteers directly spent $3.9 billion in support of their own volunteering. This is almost as much as volunteering-involving organisation’s expenditure of $4.8 billion.

Using median wage data for each age cohort; allowing an additional 15% for superannuation, payroll and administration costs; and, discounting for volunteering that occurs outside Victoria (1.8%), it was found that the cost to the community of replacing volunteers’ labour in Victoria would be $19.4 billion. 

To demonstrate the scale of the volunteering sector, we compare the cost to replace voluntary work in Victoria with the total compensation of employees in the government and private sectors. The volunteering sector is over one and a half times larger than the Victorian government sector and nearly half the size of the private sector