Volunteering WA supports the advancement of research into Western Australian volunteering.

Economic, Social and Cultural Value of Volunteering to WA

Volunteering WA, together with the Institute of Project Management, is conducting ground-breaking and vital research that will investigate the Economic, Social and Cultural Value of Volunteering to WA.

We invite you to be a part of this history-making Western Australian research and complete a Survey that will feed data into the largest and most robust study into volunteering that Western Australia has ever seen! This is only the second time in the world that this type of rigorous research has taken place and Volunteering WA is proud to make it happen in WA.


The survey is best completed by either the Volunteer Manager or senior person within the organisation.

This survey will significantly assist the whole sector by:

  • placing figures and evidence around the social, economic and cultural contributions that volunteering makes to Western Australia;
  • providing up-to-date and robust information and advice to decision-makers and other stakeholders, helping them to make sound strategic decisions about resources and funding;
  • providing us all with an evidence base to draw upon when negotiating resources and funding;
  • creating a benchmark from which we can see changes to the sector over time, helping us to accurately measure performance and guide future strategies; and
  • recording evidence so we can more accurately and economically target our marketing and communications efforts, and measure the results.

You can contribute to this vital piece of research in two ways:

  1.      Complete the survey or ask the responsible person in your organisation to complete it
  2.      Share the survey amongst your networks and encourage participation.

We are super thrilled to have you involved with this as it will not only enhance the whole volunteering sector but will also give a solid evidence-based approach so that decision-makers can give this sector the credence it deserves.

But we can’t do this alone! It is vital to get to as many organisations as possible, so please make sure you share this survey with your networks (but we only need one survey completed by each organisation).

This survey will grow in strength as the participants grow in number. Together we can work to ensure the success of the most robust and comprehensive research into the volunteering sector the State has ever seen!

Please call Gilda on 9482 4304 if you have any queries about this vital research.


Research Committee

In November 2008 Volunteering WA re-established our Research Committee following an absense of several years. The Committee is primarily an advisory body that aims to identify, share and report on existing and planned research into the Western Australian voluntary sector. Membership of the Committee includes both Researchers and Practitioners in the field.

For more information or to share with Volunteering WA news of your Research Project please contact us using the online contact form.


 Research Bulletin

Volunteering WA produces an annual bulletin focussing on the latest research into Western Australian volunteering.

Read each edition of the bulletin here: 



Research Reports

2012 Reports

The Western Australian Smaller Volunteer Groups Survey

 This research undertaken by the Department for Communities focusses on the trends in smaller and volunteer-run groups in Western Australia. 

The results of the Western Australian Smaller Groups Volunteer Survey suggests that Western Australian volunteers who are part of smaller community groups and/or who are living in smaller regional or remote settlements may have different characteristics, experiences and aspirations of volunteering in comparison to the wider population of Australian volunteers.

Taken as a whole, a very bright picture of volunteering emerges from the findings. There is a high level of longer term commitment to a group (83.5%) and a high level of belief that volunteers feel that what they are doing is very worthwhile to their community (79.3%) and a high level of self-satisfaction (73.9%).  It appears that most volunteers in The WA Survey might identify with the popular slogans that volunteers are ‘the backbone of the community’ and the ‘life blood of the community’.

 The full report can be downloaded from the Department for Communities’ website

Working Together: Management of Partnerships with Volunteers

This audit examined whether four agencies are managing their volunteer programs in line with state government guidelines. Six programs were looked at where the agency directly manages volunteers’ day-to-day activities.   

Key findings include:

  • Two agencies supervise their volunteers, develop rosters, organise recognition events, and ensure they are reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.
  • One agency thoroughly screens its volunteers, undertakes regular police clearances, and asks them to sign and commit to confidentiality agreements.
  • One agency regularly reviews its policy and procedures to ensure they align with the evolving culture of caring for the client group.
  • No agency fully planned their volunteer programs before implementation.
  • Two agencies did not provide consistent oversight and management of volunteers.

The full report can be downloaded from the Office of the Auditor General website

2011 Reports

2011 State of Volunteering in WA

In 2011 the world celebrated the International Year of Volunteers + 10 (IYV+10). In recognition of this special year, Volunteering WA as a part of its commitment to strengthening and connecting communities through volunteering, undertook the first ever State of Volunteering in WA Report.

This significant report provides a picture of contemporary volunteerism in Western Australia. It captures the trends, issues, challenges and standing of both formal and informal volunteering in Western Australia.  The report will be a valuable resource to inform future planning, research, development and directions of Volunteering WA, its stakeholders and the wider Western Australian volunteering sector. 

Download summary

Volunteering and Local Government in Western Australia

The Department for Communities commissioned research into the ways that local governments work with volunteers both within council programs and with community groups.  The research findings are intended to support local government as a key partner in promoting, supporting and valuing volunteering.

 Key findings include:

  • Local government invests $4 million per annum in volunteering
  • Volunteers in local government contribute the equivalent of more than 71 000 full time positions, which has a labour value of $63.3 million
  • About half of councils support local-run community groups by providing grants, infrastructure (such as the use of shire halls) and promotional opportunities
  • Rural and smaller councils mainly involve volunteers in emergency services and sport and physical recreation, whilst larger and urban councils and those with VRCs involve volunteers in a wide range of services, particularly the social services  
  • 24% of councils have a written policy on volunteers and volunteering
  • 49% of councils had recent contact with Volunteering WA

The full report can be downloaded from the Department for Communities website

2010 Reports

Volunteer Involving Organisations - Reports 1 & 2

A team of researchers from  Murdoch Business School led by Dr Megan Paull completed a project in May 2010 exploring the application of management theory in the management of volunteers. The project report compares two studies conducted in 1994 and 2009 to find out what, if anything, has changed during this period. 

Key findings of the research include: 

  • Word of mouth is still the most common method of volunteer recruitment
  • Referrals from VWA and VRCs has increased as a source of recruitment
  • Organisations have a greater awareness of the importance of training for volunteers
  • Performance management and dismissal of volunteers are still areas of concern
  • Grievance processes and their communication to volunteers are in need of some attention
  • Reimbursement of expenses continues to be something which organisations need to consider  

If you wish to read the full report please click on the link below to download.

Volunteer Involving Organisations: Comparing the management of volunteers in WA from 1994 to 2009

Dr David Holloway, Dr Hermina Burnett and Dr Megan Paull have also completed a companion report, Volunteer Involving Organisations: Governance, Funding and Management in Western Australia in 2009 as part of this larger project which examines issues in the volunteering sector.  The focus of this report is governance, social entrepreneurship and volunteer management. 

Key findings include:

  • There is a significant trend in the adoption of private sector corporate governance practices in the not-for-profit sector
  • There are independent Chairs in governing bodies in more than 90% of organisations
  • The role and responsibilities of governing bodies tend to mirror those of private sector boards of directors
  • Revenues apart from Government funding still largely consist of donations, gifts and memberships, but other forms of revenues are increasing
  • 48% of participating NFPs are generating incomes from social enterprise  

Volunteer Involving Organisations -Governance, Funding and Management in WA in 2009

A Rising Tide: Exploring the Future of Giving in Western Australia

This reprt was produced by the University of Western Australia and focusses on how lasting pro-giving cultural change can be achieved in the long term with the ultimate purpose of improved community well-being in WA.

Findings from the report include:

  • Western Australians seemingly have high giving participation rates but comparatively low levels of giving
  • On average Western Australians do not give as much as people do in other comparable Australian states
  • Western Australians seem to make fewer larger donations than would be expected for the state's population and prosperity
  • The affluent in WA seem to give less than in other comparable states
  • In general, the statistics for volunteering show less variation between different states and between metropolitan and country communities than the data for monetary philanthropy

The report recommends the establishment of a new not-for-profit, but time-limited, entity responsible for working to encourage more, and more effective, giving in WA. 

The full report and the executive summary can be downloaded from the Lotterywest website

International Volunteers: Cheap Help or Transformational Solidarity Towards Sustainable Development

This PhD research by Peter Devereux investigates the current international development context and the characteristics, contributions and recognition of long term international volunteers who serve, through independent international volunteer cooperation organisations, in development and sustainability work.  Long term international volunteers for development and sustainability were found to model a relational view of development. This relational view emphasised capacity development, reciprocal learning and an indirect approach to cultivate respect for local ownership, autonomy and accountability in development.

Read the full report here

2009 Reports

The Economic Value of Volunteering in Western Australia

This Department for Communities report demonstrates the significant contribution Western Australia’s army of volunteers make to the Western Australian economy and community.

Key findings include:

  • Volunteering was worth $6.6 billion to Western Australia in 2006. This figure was calculated by adding together the value of formal and informal volunteering, travel, time and other volunteer inputs.
  • The hourly figure used to calculate this amount is $24.09.
  • The value of volunteering as a percentage of WA's Gross State Product was 5.6 in 2006.
  • Western Australian volunteers provided a volume of work equivalent to 146 000 full-time jobs in 2006. This is the equivalent to an additional 13.6% of the paid number of people employed in the state.

The full report can be downloaded from the Department for Communities website 


Volunteering WA, with the assistance of our Research Committee, has produced a series of resources for community organisations to utilise when negotiating a higher education student placement agreement or a research project agreement. It is envisaged that the parties to the agreement would work through the document together, considering all relevant questions.
Student Placement Protocol and Guidelines for Negotiating a Student on Placement Agreement
Guidelines for Negotiating a Research Agreement