Volunteering Trends for 2023
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Volunteering Trends for 2023 reveal the future is looking bright for younger generations in South Africa and beyond!


South Africa (24 March 2023) – What do volunteering trends in 2023 look like? And how involved are younger generations in a world where ‘giving back’ looks different and digital?

A few years ago, volunteering was mostly characterised by its presence on-the-ground. In that volunteering world, good-hearted individuals could generally be found helping out physically at non-profit organisations or within communities in need. Here, they were doing everything from ladling soup for the hungry to handing out food parcels and clothing hampers.

However, recent years have seen a great shift across the volunteering landscape, resulting in changing trends and patterns for volunteering as we know it, and the volunteering trends for 2023 are in!

What Shifted Volunteering Trends in the First Place?

According to Patronella Sono, Staff Volunteerism Portfolio (SVP) Specialist at Momentum Metropolitan:

“Just as with almost every facet of our  lives, the pandemic had a significant impact on volunteering. Almost immediately, these on-the-ground activities were forced to cease, as people were told to stay at home. Yet, at the same time, need only deepened under the pandemic’s hardship.”

Still, the spirit of human kindness cannot be dampened, and volunteers soon found other avenues to support their communities igniting exciting shifts for the future of volunteering.

Younger Generations Are Doing Their Part

“In the past, the average volunteer was older, but recently, we’re seeing more Millennials and even Gen Zers come to the party,” Sono shares. Several years ago, data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics revealed that the majority of volunteers fell within the Generation X category at 28,9%, followed by Baby Boomers (25.7%), and then Millennials (21.9%).

In addition, the Momentum Metropolitan Volunteerism Report revealed some exciting results for younger generations in South Africa. Of its sample surveyed, the average age of the majority of volunteers was between 25 – 34 (38%). This is a great pat on the back for Millennials who are often condemned as self-centred and lazy.

“Research continues to show that young people are becoming more and more concerned about their own contribution to positively impacting society or making a difference in other people’s lives.” — Sono.

The Report’s volunteer sample also revealed that black women are going above and beyond. 83% Of respondents were identified as female, 36% as degree-educated and 71%  as black.

“Research suggests that women tend to be more empathetic than men, so this finding makes sense within this context.” — Patronella Sono.

The Rise of New Volunteering Waves

Thanks to the acceleration of digitalisation, volunteering has spread into more virtual and time-friendly spaces.

“Technology has increased convenience and access. Volunteering is no longer just something one can do in their spare time but rather, they are now able to convert this spare time into impact. Per the report, this naturally increases younger generations’ ability to get involved in volunteering.” — Patronella Sono.

Some thrilling volunteering trends include:

  • micro-volunteering (volunteer work that takes place in short time increments)
  • virtual volunteering (volunteer work done online)
  • skills-based volunteering (using your professional skills to make an impact)
  • and hybrid volunteering (a mix of virtual and on-the-ground work)

The Momentum Metropolitan Volunteerism Report also showed that when volunteering, 66% of respondents actually preferred to provide their skills or services. This section was also strong in the 25 – 34 age group.

The Boom in Digital Donations

Time and money are both currencies and human beings are seldom rich in both. Luckily, the increased ease and security of payment platforms have made giving a little a lot easier.

Source: Momentum Metropolitan Volunteerism Report
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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