State of Volunteering 2020

It has been inspiring to see the generosity of New Zealanders over the last few months as individuals and communities worked together to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic. Our team of five million strived to work together to keep each other, and our communities safe. Every day we witness the potential of volunteering in making a difference, and how volunteers contribute positively to their communities. By caring for others and contributing to change, volunteers improve the lives of other people while at the same time enhancing their own lives. The impact and outcome of this contribution has been highlighted in recent months, and so has its power.

Volunteering New Zealand is actively involved in conducting research and disseminating material to promote, support, encourage, and represent volunteering in Aotearoa New Zealand. Volunteering New Zealand’s State of Volunteering Survey explores the volunteering landscape in New Zealand, providing an annual and useful snapshot that can be used to develop effective short and long term strategies.

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Volunteering New Zealand’s State of Volunteering Report 2020 presents a snapshot of the state of volunteering in Aotearoa New Zealand at a critical point in the nation’s history—just prior to the Level 4 lockdown being imposed as the Covid-19 pandemic hit our shores. The report is supported by quantitative data from official sources, as well as responses received from the State of Volunteering online survey.

In this research, Volunteering New Zealand identifies current trends, issues and challenges. We will use the findings to support the community and voluntary sector in removing barriers, addressing issues, and leveraging opportunities to maximise the potential of the volunteer workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand.

This research includes both the voices and opinions of both volunteers and volunteer involving organisations. Volunteering New Zealand hopes that this report can further assist the sector in promoting inclusive, impactful and meaningful volunteering which fosters community connections.

Volunteers come from all walks of life, representing all ages, demographics and cultures, volunteering for many different reasons. Volunteering builds strong, sustainable and connected communities. It builds social capital; it is the glue that binds our communities, our culture, and our identity. Whatever we call it, be it unpaid work within our communities, volunteering, mahi aroha, or social action, it is a taonga we must all treasure, nurture, and recognise as integral to Aotearoa New Zealand as a nation.

However, volunteering is often taken for granted. It is not appropriately recognised or celebrated, and more importantly, it has not been accurately measured on a national level. There is a significant opportunity for the sector to better record and report on the volunteer contribution. This, in turn necessitates collecting robust and accurate data on volunteering. Data is critical to guide organisations in attracting, supporting, recognising, and rewarding volunteers. Equally important, data is also required to inform policy making and the Government’s support for the community and voluntary sector.

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Volunteering New Zealand