Volunteering Research in Australia

Darja Kragt and Djurre Holtrop reviewed 152 studies on volunteering in Australia. We found that there is a great diversity and wealth of research on volunteering. Our goal was to bring these studies together, identify which patterns are well-established and which gaps research still needs to fill. As you can imagine, the diversity in research themes made it challenging to summarise everything neatly. We hope this review will form a starting point for future research on volunteering and provide insights to volunteer managers.


We structured our summary around the journey that a volunteer takes in an organisation. Starting with recruitment: Why do people start volunteering and who responds to which recruitment messages? Next, we focussed on the benefits of volunteering: What psychological benefits do volunteers get out of their roles and how do those benefits come to existence? Finally, we summarised why some stay with a volunteer organisation and why others leave: Which expectations, events, and experiences keep people committed to a volunteer cause. The infographic below highlights some findings and conclusions from the review.