Community Scoop

Charities and community sector rely significantly on the generosity of volunteers

michelle-kitneyMichelle Kitney
Chief Executive | Volunteering New Zealand

COVID-19 highlights the need to understand the value, impact and potential of volunteering, and the infrastructure, that enables volunteers to enrich Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Statistics New Zealand recently released the Non-profit institutions satellite account: 2018 (NPISA). This revealed some interesting facts about our volunteering landscape.

It highlights how the charitable and community sector relies significantly on the generosity of volunteers.

In 2018 there were 115,000 non-profit institutions (NPI’s) in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Eighty-nine per cent of NPIs did not employ staff.

The NPISA accounts included a monetary value of the volunteer labour in non-profit institutions. This unpaid work contributed a whopping $4 billion dollars to the economy in 2018.

Another recent report, by JB Were’s New Zealand Support Report (Feb, 2020) also identified volunteer labour as a critical component of New Zealand’s NPI’s operating systems.

As we work together to respond to and recover from COVID-19, organisations will need to focus their resources and efforts to nurture and engage their volunteer workforce. Many organisations will need to engage new cohorts of volunteers.

We are already seeing the benefits of a community-led approach for all sectors of the community. There is considerable problem solving already occurring within local communities. Volunteers are a key part of this.

Infrastructure such the Volunteer Centre Network and organisations that enable peer-to-peer support like Neighbourhood Support New Zealand have been pivotal in enabling a community-led response to COVID-19.

The Volunteer Centre Network has 17 centres around the country. They connect volunteers to community organisations delivering services and support within their communities during the response and recovery to COVID-19.

Volunteering New Zealand can help connect you with The Volunteer Centre Network, volunteers and opportunities to help:

Key findings – Non-profit institutions satellite account: 2018:

  • 115,0000 Not Profit Institutions (NPIs) contribution to GDP in 2018 was $8.1 billion, this was 2.8 percent of GDP. In 2013 they contributed $6.2 billion (2.9 percent).
  • The value of voluntary labour (or formal unpaid work) in New Zealand’s NPIs was estimated to be $4.0 billion in 2018, compared with $3.5 billion in 2013.
  • Volunteering hours have remained stable at 159 million per annum. The value of this volunteer labour is estimated at $4 billion.
  • There has been a reduction in the overall number of people volunteering, from 1.2 million, to just over 1 million.
  • In 2018, 89 percent of NPIs did not employ staff.

For more information

Michelle Kitney
Chief Executive, Volunteering New Zealand
+64 4 027 681 4956

Volunteering New Zealand’s COVID-19 response website pages


This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network. The views presented here are not necessarily those of ComVoices.

ComVoices is a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary sector organisations. It was established so that sector organisations would have a more powerful voice at Government level and in the community.

Click here for our website