The number of volunteers has increased in the country since 2010

10 September 2015

Media Release

In 2014, there were 2,2 million volunteers compared to 1,3 million in 2010, constituting an increase of about 898 000 volunteers. The country’s volunteer rate increased by 2,1 percentage points to 5, 8% in 2014. The number of volunteered hours increased from the 419,2 million in 2010 to 610,4 million in 2014.  The Volunteer Activity Survey 2014 report published by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), indicate that the number of volunteers have increased overtime. This publication presents statistics on the number of volunteers, the characteristics of the volunteers, the number of hours volunteered and the value of volunteer work.

The 610, 4 million volunteer hours contributed in 2014, were equivalent to about 293 000 full-time jobs. While the average annual hours volunteered declined from 321 to 277 in 2014, although the number of volunteers had increased, less time was spent on volunteering activities.

The Volunteer Activities Survey (VAS) is a household-based survey that collects data on the volunteer activities of individuals aged 15 years and older. A volunteer is a person aged 15 and over who did any unpaid non-compulsory work; that is, time individuals give without pay to activities performed either through an organisation or directly for others outside their own household in the four weeks preceding the survey interview

In 2014, the majority of volunteer respondents (65,4%) said they mainly volunteered directly. While the proportion of organisation-based volunteering declined to 27, 5% in the year 2014, which was a decrease of 10 percentage points from 2010.  Around 90% of the volunteers performed one volunteer activity in both 2010 and 2014 and less than 2, 5% for those who volunteered more than three activities.

Almost all the provinces reported increases in their volunteer rate, except for Western Cape and Northern Cape. Eastern Cape reported the highest change of 4,7% in its volunteer rate. In 2014, the highest volunteer rates were reported in the Free State (8,2%), Eastern Cape (7,5%) and Limpopo (7,3%), while the lowest volunteer rates were recorded in Western Cape (4,8%) and Mpumalanga (4,3%).

Although the number of people volunteering has increased the analysis shows a decrease in the average annual hours worked from 321 in 2010 to 277 hours in 2014. This decline is reason for concern, given the importance that volunteer work has in the lives of people who benefit from volunteer work, and given its economic importance to the country’s growth and development.



Issued by Statistics South Africa

For technical enquiries, contact:

Ms Kefiloe Masiteng

Deputy Director-General: Population and Social Statistics

Tel: 012 310 2109



Ms Dihlolelo Phoshoko

Acting Executive Manager: Labour Statistics

Tel:  012 336 0322



For media enquires

Lesedi Dibakwane

Tel: 012 310 8578

Cell: 082 805 7088