Australia Celebrates National Volunteering Week!

By: Nanette Fairley

May 15, 2023

Earlier this year I attended a two day conference launching the National Strategy for Volunteering in Australia.  There were over 100 speakers during the conference but the vision for the future of volunteering was particularly inspiring.   You can read the detail of the strategy if of interest here.  The strategy evolved from a co-design process involving thousands of people across Australia linked to this sector.  It has been hailed as a truly collaborative piece of work that provides a blue print for a ‘reimagined future for volunteering across Australia’.

At the very highest level of summary the vision that evolved from the strategy is to make volunteering the heart of Australian communities:

  • where people volunteer more often
  • where volunteers feel respected and know their contribution makes a difference
  • where volunteering is valued and properly considered in policy settings, service design and strategic investment
  • where diversity in volunteering is recognised, celebrated and supported, and
  • where people individually and collectively realise their potential for creating thriving communities.

A tiny part of realising this vision is National Volunteering Week.  An annual event that celebrates the significant role that volunteering plays in Australia. It is held in May (15 – 21st) and recognizes and acknowledges the tireless efforts of volunteers who work to help others in their communities.

The UK equivalent is from 1-7th June (Find out more through this link) , while the US celebrates theirs from 21st – 27th April (Read more here)

Volunteering is something you can do across your lifespan, but many people really engage in volunteer opportunities once they leave full-time employment.  At this time of our life we have more flexibility, and time, so it can be ideally suited for those in our Third Age.

What is National Volunteering Week in Australia?

It is a time to celebrate and recognize the hard work of volunteers across the country. It is a week-long event that encourages people to participate in volunteer work and aims to increase awareness of the positive impact that volunteering can have on individuals and communities. National Volunteering Week is an important event that highlights the significance of volunteering and its role in building a stronger and more connected society.

How Important is Volunteering in Australia?

Volunteering plays a crucial role in Australian society. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), over 3.6 million Australians volunteer their time to various causes each year. This equates to around 19% of the population. Volunteers come from all walks of life and contribute to a diverse range of sectors. Anything from health, education, sports and environment to emergency services.

Its benefits are not just one way as volunteers develop new skills and knowledge and build social connections. It also provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment, as individuals work towards a common goal of improving the lives of others.

Volunteering is VITAL!  It supports the delivery of critical services and programs, particularly in areas where there is a shortage of resources. For example, volunteers play an essential role in the delivery of aged care services and supporting vulnerable people in the community who require assistance. They also provide support to emergency services during times of crisis, such as natural disasters. Think about the volunteer firefighters that work incredibly hard every year in fire season in Australia!

Events and Activities During National Volunteering Week

If you have never volunteered or want to get more involved in volunteering, perhaps this week is a good time to explore what might suit you and where the need is.  National Volunteering Week offers a range of events and activities for people to get involved. These events are designed for you to learn about the different volunteer roles available. Find out what’s happening near you here.

Other events during National Volunteering Week include community volunteer projects, volunteer recognition events, and training sessions for volunteers. These events are designed to raise awareness of the importance of volunteering and provide opportunities for people to contribute to their local communities.

Another way to get involved is to participate in a community volunteer project. These projects are designed to bring people together to work towards a common goal, such as cleaning up a local park or community garden. It is a great way to meet new people and make a positive impact in your local community.

If you are interested in volunteering but unsure where to start, there are several resources available to help you. The Volunteering Australia website is an excellent resource for finding volunteer opportunities and learning more about the different types of volunteer roles available. Or if you are ready to review a list of volunteer assignments that are currently being advertised you can find them through this link.

National Volunteering Week is also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the incredible work of volunteers across Australia. By sharing their stories and experiences, the impact that volunteering has on individuals, communities, and society as a whole is showcased.  Awards ceremonies and other recognition events for volunteers also happens this week.

National Volunteering Week is a time to celebrate the significant role that volunteering plays in Australian society. As we celebrate National Volunteering Week this week in Australia, let us recognize the tireless efforts of volunteers across the country and the invaluable contribution that they make to society. Let us also encourage others to get involved and make a difference in their communities. It is a wonderful thing to do at any age, but especially in your Third Age!



#Volunteering  #Givingback  #NationalVolunteeringWeek