March 21, 2008

The Importance of Voluntarism

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The combined value of voluntary effort in the community is estimated to be worth over $3 billion.

Non-profit institutions contributed 2.6 percent to New Zealand's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2004 according to a report released in August named "The Non-profit Institutions Satellite Account: 2004" just released by Statistics New Zealand. When volunteer labour is included, non-profit institutions' contribution to GDP increases from 2.6 percent to 4.9 percent.

The report estimates that the number of people who volunteered for one or more non-profit institutions to be 1,011,600 for the year ended March 2004. This represents 31 percent of the New Zealand population aged 12 years and over.It was estimated that these volunteers contributed 270 million hours of formal unpaid work. This is equal to 133,799 full-time positions being filled by volunteers.

The value of voluntary labour (or formal unpaid work) was estimated to be $3.31 billion for the year ended March 2004. This estimate added 2.3 percent to the contribution that non-profit institutions make to GDP.

The report notes that the percentage of New Zealanders who volunteered for non-profit institutions compares well with similar countries in recent years. In the United Kingdom, 39 percent of the population volunteered for one or more non-profit institution (2005), compared with 32 percent of the population in Australia (2000), and 27 percent in both Canada (2000) and the United States (1995).In New Zealand, the average volunteer did 5.1 hours per week of formal unpaid work, compared with an average of 3.2 hours per week per volunteer in Australia, 3.1 hours in Canada and 2.4 hours in the United States.The majority of volunteers (54 percent) volunteered for one non-profit institution.Because 46 percent of volunteers volunteered for more than one institution, there are more unpaid positions volunteered for than the actual number of people who volunteer. It is estimated that 1,727,400 volunteer positions were filled for non-profit institutions in the year ended March 2004.For more details and access to the full report please visit:Statistics NZ Non-Profit Satellite Account 2004

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