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Volunteers across Australia made a remarkable contribution throughout 2020 and organisations adapted and innovated to keep helping the community. Yet COVID-19 restrictions hit volunteering hard. As 2020 ended, Volunteering Australia asked the sector how well volunteering had recovered?

Volunteering has not ‘snapped back’ as COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted. A survey, completed by nearly 600 respondents over December 2020 and January 2021, found:

  • Volunteering has not fully recovered. Nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents reported that their volunteer programs were either only partially operational (60%) or not operational (12%).
  • Confidence is still weak. Four out of ten (42%) of respondents were not confident that their organisation will achieve pre-COVID levels of volunteering activity in the next six months.
  • Demand for services has increased and more volunteers are needed. Four out of ten (43%) reported experiencing an increase in demand for services, with over half (56%) reporting that they need more volunteers.

Volunteering is essential to the social and economic recovery of the nation, helping sustain the wellbeing of volunteers and the organisations and communities they serve. Reinvigorating volunteering will require all elements of the volunteering ecosystem (including volunteer involving organisations, volunteer support services, peak bodies, and governments) to work together.

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