Over a million South Africans volunteer

4 November 2011

About 1.2-million South Africans spent 379-million hours on volunteer work in the 12 months ending June 2011 – the equivalent of 182 351 people working full-time at a cost (had it been remunerated work) of R7.5-billion.

According to Statistics South Africa’s latest Volunteer Activities Survey, released on Tuesday, about 1.2-million South Africans were involved in volunteer work in the second quarter of 2011.

Volunteer rate of 3.5%

Given an estimated total population, aged 15 years and above, of 34.4-million, this means South Africa’s volunteer rate stands at 3.5%, with women volunteering at a higher rate (4.3%) than men (2.6%).

Stats SA said that, of the 1.2-million who volunteered, about 53.9% did so as individuals (or were “direct volunteers”), 36.8% through organisations only, and 9.3% both directly and through organisations. The majority (about 90%) were involved in just one volunteer activity.

Among organisation-based volunteers, 249 000 volunteered through religious organisations, 185 000 through charities, non-profit organisations, NGOs or CBOs, and the rest through other types of organisations.

Increased with age, up to 45-54

The volunteer rate increased with age up to the age of 45-54 years, after which it declined, Stats SA reported. White South Africans had a higher volunteer rate than other population groups.

“Apart from the satisfaction that comes from helping people, the volunteers were asked whether they received or expected to receive something for their help,” Stats SA said.

Of those who answered “yes”, the “something” they received or expected to receive was out-of-pocket expenses (33.3%), skills or experience (28.7%), food (12.7%), or transport, clothes and shelter (8.1%).

SAinfo reporter