Facts & figures

What does the data say? A snapshot of key info & stats about volunteering in Queensland


How many Queenslanders volunteer?

According to the ABS General Social Survey in 2014, there are currently 983,200 volunteers [0.98m].

Previously there were approx. 1.2 million adults who volunteered in 2010 as compared with 1.1 million people in 2006.

Who volunteers?

Volunteering patterns vary with age, life stage and gender.

Queenslanders of all ages are active in volunteering work however people aged 45-54 were most likely to volunteer (47%). The majority of these volunteers are married with children and their volunteering activities reflect associated family commitments.

People are more likely to volunteer if they were exposed to volunteering as a child either through their parents or through volunteering themselves. In 2010, 66% of volunteers reported that their parents had done some voluntary work compared 44% of non-volunteers.


Queensland women have a slightly higher volunteering rate at 36%, while Queensland men have a rate of 35%.

Younger & older generations

Volunteering among younger people in Queensland has increased significantly since the mid 1990s. In 2010, the volunteer rates of 18-24 year old Queenslanders was 25%.

In 2010, the volunteer rates of Queenslanders 55-64 and 65+ were 38% and 33% respectively.

Culturally & linguistically diverse volunteers

The rate of volunteering amongst people born overseas (28%) or those whose speak a language other than English at home (25%) is generally lower than those born in Australia (39%) or those who speak English at home (39%).

This difference shows the barriers to mainstream volunteering experienced by people from CALD backgrounds. These volunteers tend to participate informally within their own ethnic group and their volunteering contributions are often not recorded.

What type of work do volunteers do?

The four most common types of organisations for which people volunteered were:

  • Sport and physical recreation
  • Community/welfare
  • Religious groups
  • Parenting, children and youth.

The economic value of volunteering

The current wage rate used to work out the value of volunteering is $40.35.

This rate was valued at $24.09 in 2006, $28.99 in 2011, $34.89 in 2016 and estimated at $42.00 in 2021.

  • Volunteers provided 133.4 million hours work in 2014.
  • Volunteering was worth $11.6 billion to the Queensland economy in 2014 (conservative) and $13.4 billion in 2006.
  • Formal volunteering is defined as unpaid help in the form of time, service or skills willingly given by an individual through organisations or groups. In 2014, formal voluntary work in Queensland was worth $4.6 billion.
  • Informal volunteering is defined as the unorganised unpaid help and care that occurs within the personal networks of family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances. It is not mediated through an organisation. In 2014, informal volunteering was estimated at $6.9 billion dollars.

Volunteering for health & happiness

Volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer – doctors should recommend it.

  • 95% of volunteers say that volunteering is related to feelings of wellbeing.
  • Volunteering results in a “helper’s high”, a powerful physical and emotional feeling experienced when directly helping others.
  • Sustained volunteering is associated with better mental health.
  • A strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally kind and compassionate in their charitable helping activities.
  • The experience of helping others provides meaning, a sense of self-worth, a social role and health enhancement.

Interesting facts about volunteers

  • 82% of volunteers were delighted, pleased or mostly satisfied with their lives, compared to 75% of non-volunteers.
  • Volunteers (82%) were much more likely than non-volunteers (55%) to have attended a community event in the last 6 months, and were almost three times more likely to have ever provided a service or activity in the local area (44% compared to 15%). 



Photo: Quilters