COVID-19 Volunteering Research

Volunteering New Zealand believes that reliable and accurate data about volunteering and COVID-19 is essential for effective leadership, advocacy and support of the community and voluntary sector. We are committed to advocating with and on behalf of the sector with quality data that highlights the value of volunteering in all its forms. 

State of the Sector 2022: community and voluntary sector survey report

April 2023, ComVoices and Community Networks Aotearoa

The fifth biennial report providing a longitudinal track of how the Community and Voluntary Sector has been faring. Post-pandemic, the Sector delivering community wellbeing has wellbeing issues of its own.

Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Community and Voluntary Sector provides for the most vulnerable people across the motu. Hit with the pandemic, extreme weather events, and national tragedies in the last two years the Sector was among the first and last responders – there before, during, and then remaining after any crisis. These ongoing crises only exacerbate an already stretched and under resourced support structure.

Michelle Kitney, Chief Executive of Volunteering New Zealand says volunteer-run organisations are feeling the pressure. “Pressures on volunteer-involving organisations have increased, particularly for low-income organisations. Better management support and training for volunteers is a priority if the community sector is going to be able to respond to community need.”  

Volunteers and volunteering during the COVID-era in Australia

May 2022, Australian National University

This paper focuses on the changes to volunteering and volunteers that have occurred over the COVID-19 period. It is based on the April 2022 ANUpoll survey, that collected data from 3,587 Australians aged 18 years and over, as well as data from April 2020 and 2021.

It shows lower rates of volunteering than prior to the pandemic, albeit with some increases since April 2021. There is some evidence that this decline in volunteering has led to a reduction in wellbeing, with those who say they stopped volunteering due to COVID-19 but who had not started again by April 2022 having far lower levels of wellbeing than those who had maintained their volunteering over the period. Furthermore, the vast majority of volunteers (more than nine-in-ten) were either satisfied (53.1 per cent) or very satisfied (37.9 per cent) with their volunteering experience.

The paper also focusses on the variation in volunteering across the population as Australia enters the COVID-recovery period.

COVID-19 hauora/ wellbeing survey 2021

Just before Aotearoa went into its second nationwide lockdown in August 2021, we checked in with more than 600 tangata whenua, community and voluntary organisations to see how they were coping. Here’s what we found.

Community organisations are running on empty after 18 months of pandemic pressures, new research from Volunteering New Zealand and Hui E! Community Aotearoa shows.

The survey showed the sector is experiencing increased demand for its services from stressed communities. But the demand has not been met with increased funding from government and the philanthropic sector, and the challenges are starting to wear down workers and volunteers.

It was a follow-up of a 2020 survey which showed similar trends, and included focus groups with organisations caring for Māori, Pasifika, migrant and refugee-background, and disabled communities.

Leadership for Volunteering: The COVID-19 Experience

The report examines how COVID-19 has impacted the strategic leadership role of national Volunteer Leadership Organisations (VLOs) in advocacy, development and volunteer mobilisation during 2020-21. Data was gathered from organisations in 67 countries across the world.

Ongoing change and unpredictability are likely to be the hallmarks of the future of volunteering. However, relationships formed at the local, regional and multinational levels will continue to be important. Volunteer Leading Organisations will be influential in their strategic leadership role.

Status of the Volunteering Sector: Post-COVID Recovery and Resilience, May 2021

Volunteering New Zealand’s report captures the challenges and opportunities faced by the volunteering sector as we move through the post-Covid-19 recovery period.
This report outlines our key findings and offers a series of recommendations for the sector’s recovery and improved resilience and preparedness for the future.

Voluntary sector feedback April – May 2020

During the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in April – May 2020, we collated information on the impact of COVID-19 on volunteer organisations and volunteers in a series of reports:

Time to shine, time to take stock, time to shape our future

A survey of Aotearoa New Zealand’s community sector on the impacts of COVID‐19

During the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in April – May 2020, we collated information on the impact of COVID-19 on volunteer organisations and volunteers in a series of reports:

This report details the findings of a survey of Aotearoa New Zealand’s tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector in May-June 2020 on the impacts of COVID-19 (as recorded in Levels 2 and 1 of lockdown 2020).

We anticipate keeping this page regularly updated as new resources and datasets become available.