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New report finds valued volunteers stay longer

Monday 20 May 2019 | By Lauren Sydoruk
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People are more likely to volunteer for a longer period of time if they are told they are making a difference and they feel valued, a new report led by Curtin University has found.

‘The Volunteering Trends Research Report’, released today and run in collaboration with Chorus, explored the predictors and motives for volunteering, as well as the current trends in volunteering relating to recruitment, retention, processes and training.

Associate Professor Barbara Mullan, from the School of Psychology at Curtin University, said more than three million people aged 15 years and older engaged in volunteering across Australia.

“In order to help organisations retain their crucial volunteer workforce for longer, we need to understand why people volunteer and what motivates them to continue to volunteer,” Associate Professor Mullan said.

“The main reasons we found people volunteer were to help others, give back to the community, social engagement, personal reasons, and improvement of their career prospects or to gain new skills. We found that people were more likely to continue to volunteer if they felt valued, acknowledged and appreciated by their volunteering organisation.”

The research also looked into the potential barriers to volunteering and found that personal time constraints and volunteering opportunities being too inflexible were the most common barriers.

Ms Emer Duggan, Group Manager Volunteering from Chorus, said the study offered a great opportunity to work with Curtin University to better understand the current trends in volunteering.

“The knowledge we’ve gained from the study means we are now able to make informed decisions on the ground. We know our volunteers better and understand their needs and barriers to entry in 2019,” Ms Duggan said.

The project was led by Associate Professor Courtenay Harris and Mrs Anne Same from the School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology at Curtin University.