More than one-third of Australians did voluntary work last year, with more women volunteering than men, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In 2010, 36% of Australians aged 18 years and over participated in voluntary work – 38% of women and 34% of men.

Despite the pressures of balancing work and family life, people who were employed were most likely to be volunteers – 44% of those with part-time work and 38% with full-time work, compared to 20% of those unemployed and 31% of those not in the labour force. Women working part-time had the highest rate of volunteering (49%). For parents with school-aged children, those in a couple relationship had the highest rate of participation in voluntary work (55%).

Sport and physical recreation organisations were the most common type that people volunteered for, accounting for 63% of volunteering fathers and 47% of volunteering mothers with children. People over 65 most commonly volunteered for welfare and community organisations (37%).

Volunteering runs in the family – 66% of volunteers reported that their parents had undertaken voluntary work and volunteers were more likely to have participated in group or community activities as a child.

As well as volunteering through organisations, 64% of volunteers had also provided informal assistance in the last 4 weeks to people outside of their household, such as relatives, friends and neighbours. Volunteers were also more likely than non-volunteers to provide care to someone with a disability, long-term health condition or problems with old age (27% compared to 17% for non-volunteers).
Note: A volunteer is someone who, in the previous 12 months, willingly gave unpaid help, in the form of time, service or skills, through an organisation or group.
Voluntary work excludes employment or study commitments, for example, work experience, student placements or work for the dole.
Source. Australian Bureau of Statistics