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Results

Just under 1,200 people responded to the Relationships Australia online survey in May 2017.  More than three-quarters of survey respondents identified as female, with more females than males responding in every age group (see Figure 1 below).  Eighty-four per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20‑59 years, and more than half of the respondents comprised women aged between 30-49 years (inclusive).

As for previous surveys, the demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that would be accessing the Relationships Australia website.

Both male and female survey respondents reported that they thought volunteering provided a great deal of benefit to the community.  Women (77%) were more likely than men (70%) to report that the community benefits a great deal from volunteering, while only four per cent of men and women reported that volunteering provided little or no benefit to the community.  The perceived benefits of volunteering most commonly reported included: ‘increased opportunities for social connection’; ‘have access to services that would otherwise be expensive or unavailable’; ‘improved general happiness’ and ‘improved mental health’ (figure 2).

Ratings of the personal benefits of volunteering were lower than levels of perceived benefits reported for recipients of volunteering.

Women (63%) were more likely than men (47%) to report that volunteers received a ‘great deal’ of personal benefit from volunteering, while men (44%) were more likely than women (29%) to report that volunteers received a ‘fair bit’ of personal benefit from volunteering.  Ten per cent of survey respondents reported that there was little or no personal benefit from volunteering.

Perceived personal benefits of volunteering most commonly included: ‘greater opportunity for social connection’; ‘opportunities for skill development’; and ‘improved general happiness’.

The most commonly reported sources of volunteering opportunities included word of mouth, volunteering support organisations, community websites and traditional or social media (figure 4).  Women (29%) were more likely than men (22%) to report community websites as a source of volunteering opportunities, while men were more likely to report the other three most common sources of volunteering opportunities.

Overall, female survey respondents (65%) were more likely to volunteer than males (61%).  Of those people who reported that they currently volunteer, men (12%) were more likely than women (6%) to report longer hours of volunteering.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites