The Value of Volunteering
Volunteers do a power of work in our community. Volunteers work tirelessly helping the community in so many different ways including language schools, organising fundraising activities, visiting the sick, isolated and elderly, providing interpreting services, referral services and skills development.
Without volunteers a lot of these community services and supports would not exist. Recently, Auburn Council (Now part of the newly formed Cumberland Council) recognised the significant contribution made by volunteers in our local area and decided to conduct a study. The ‘Invisible Volunteer Report’ maps and portrays the extensive volunteer contribution of individuals, community groups and organisations working in Auburn City. The report also quantifies the value and impact of that volunteer contribution. The study was focused on a sample of 12 community organisations and the results were quite astounding. In the last 12 months, these 12 small community organisations mobilized 3,487 volunteers to contribute 312,641 hours towards ongoing community activities.
An additional 10, 426 hours were contributed to the running of one-off events including iconic local events like Flavours of Auburn and the Africultures Festival.
Combined, the total estimated value of these volunteer contributions to the Auburn economy over a 12 month period was a massive $11,375,171.
With more than 200 community organisations in our local area, 75% of which are wholly run by volunteers, this sample of 12 organisations potentially represents only a small proportion (approximately 8%) of our local volunteer contributions. Imagine what the total economic contribution of our local volunteers actually is!
The ‘Invisible Volunteer Report’ has not only recognised the significant impact and value volunteers make to our local community and economy, it has also positively impacted on the way the community understands and works with volunteers.
Council has identified ways to further support volunteers and to maximise volunteering in our local area, including collaborations between local community organisations. Good practice guidelines have been developed for working with small volunteer community organisations, along with guidelines for volunteer management and resources for assessing volunteer programs and organisations.
This research project was recognised with a Highly Commended Awards in the 2016 NSW Local Government Excellence Awards for ‘Excellence in Local Economic Contribution’. DOOLEYS was proud to be part of this innovative project and would like to thank our local volunteers for their ongoing contributions to our community.
To access the full report visit Auburn City Council’s website – www.auburn.nsw.gov.au/community