Volunteering Statistics


Volunteering New Zealand believes that reliable and accurate data about volunteering 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. 

Latest New Zealand data

Using information from Statistics New Zealand’s latest quarterly Labour Market Statistics, the following highlights can be drawn from the statistical tables:

    • Approximately 21.5% of New Zealanders undertake volunteer work
    • New Zealanders contribute a total of around 60 million hours of volunteer labour each year
    • The median amount of volunteering done per person per year is 40 hours.
    • 11.8% of people undertake informal volunteering work, contributing a total of 7.8 million hours of volunteer labour per year to these figures. 
    • Rates of volunteering for those who are employed are higher than those who are unemployed or not in the labour market. The exception is those over 65 years old, where the rate of volunteering for those not in the labour market is higher than those who are employed. This is because the proportion of over 65 who are not in the labour market may be higher than those who are employed. 
    • People from European and Maori ethnic groups are the two ethnic groups most likely to volunteer, while MELAA (Middle Eastern, Latin American and African) and Asian are the least likely by volunteer percentage rate. This shows the ongoing challenge of making the volunteering landscape more inclusive to widen the types of people who engage in volunteer work.
    • Those in professional occupations are more likely to volunteer than those in non-professional occupations: 23% of professionals and managers, versus 16% of labourers and machinery operators.

VNZ is currently preparing a State of Volunteering report, to be published in June 2020. For the first time, the State of Volunteering report will include the views of volunteers directly, as well as insights about informal volunteering. This is in addition to the data currently collected from volunteer-involving organisations. The report will serve as an important advocacy tool for VNZ, Volunteer Centres, volunteer-involving organisations, and researchers more widely. 

Other data resources:

VNZ has carefully selected the following resources to highlight some insights about volunteering in New Zealand and a number of other similar jurisdictions.

Volunteering and Donations by New Zealanders in 2016
Statistics New Zealand (2016). 

This report from Statistics New Zealand highlights findings about volunteering and donations from the General Social Survey (GSS). It provides useful information for organisations and policymakers on the demographics of the volunteer workforce, plus the number of hours volunteered and for whom. It also explores the types of people who donate and who they donate to.

Labour Market Quarterly Statistics: June 2019 Quarter
Statistics New Zealand (2018/19)

Labour market statistics provide a picture of the New Zealand labour market, including unemployment and employment rates, demand for labour, and changes in wages and salaries. It includes useful information around volunteering rates, stratified by various categories including age cohort, ethnicity, occupation, and geographical location.

Time Well Spent: A National Survey on the Volunteering Experience
National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), UK (2019)

This report summarises the key findings from the report Time Well Spent: A national survey on the volunteer experience, undertaken by the United Kingdom’s National Council for Voluntary Organisations. It provides a valuable perspective on effective research engaging with volunteers. 

Blog Post: Who are Australia’s volunteers? The 2019 update
Glenn – “Census Expert” (ID The Population Experts, Australia)

This is a blog post summarising the make-up of Australia’s volunteering workforce. The rates of volunteering are similar to New Zealand’s, and some of the challenges around inclusion and diversity are also highlighted. 

We anticipate keeping this page regularly updated as new resources and datasets become available. Upcoming reports will include the 2020 State of Volunteering Report and an analysis of the latest volunteering data from the New Zealand 2018 Census when it becomes available.