Volunteering New Zealand releases the results of its second inaugural survey on the State of Volunteering in New Zealand report today, providing the sector with some telling insights.

Based on responses from 1260 registered charities, this report follows on from the trends and challenges identified in last year’s report. “There are many complex changes currently facing the community and voluntary sector; increased regulation, financial pressures, and longer work hours have had a large impact on volunteering”, says Scott Miller, Chief Executive of Volunteering New Zealand.

Dispute resolution is an area of concern identified in the report, with 79% of organisations experiencing challenges in conflict management involving volunteers in the previous 12 months. Most organisations have procedures in place to deal with complaints and/or disputes effectively, however. Encouragingly, 82% of organisations who employ paid staff say that all or most of their staff are able to explain the benefits of involving volunteers, suggesting the majority of organisations are operating within VNZ’s Best Practice Guidelines. Also noteworthy is the fact that the majority of volunteer-involving organisations believe they allocate adequate resources to volunteers to ensure effective volunteer involvement.

Despite a significant decrease in volunteer hours since 2004, as reported in the Non-profit Institutions Satellite Account: 2013 (Statistics New Zealand), only 32% of survey respondents had noticed a decline in hours volunteered. Increasing efficiency through effective volunteer management is a key strategy in coping with a reduction in volunteer hours.

“We have a proud tradition of donating our time in New Zealand, however a marked reduction in hours volunteered through organisations is a sign we may be at risk of losing a key factor that distinguishes us as New Zealanders. It is therefore essential that we maintain a good understanding of the state of volunteering and ensure it is well supported and future-proofed.” Miller adds.

The full State of Volunteering Report is available on the Volunteering New Zealand website: http://www.volunteeringnz.org.nz/state-volunteering/

Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) is an association of national volunteer-involving organisations that have a commitment to volunteering. Their mission is to maximise the impact of volunteering in our communities. www.volunteeringnz.org.nz