Thursday, 6 March 2014

Contribution Day: "Why Volunteering Matters? An Australian perspective" by Garry Blasius

Do you know that for several years Australia is always ranked in top 10 countries in giving behaviours? In fact according to World Giving Index 2013, Australia was on the 2nd place in the average of 5 year ranking (during 2009 – 2013) [1]. This spirit and culture of giving in Australia can be reflected through many ways and volunteer is undoubtedly one of them.

What is Volunteer? According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), definition of Volunteer is: ’someone who willingly gives unpaid help, in the form of time, service or skills, through an organization or group’ [2].
In my opinion, there are 3 major reasons why we (as part of Australia’s population) should consider to do volunteer activities:
  • The first reason is the economic contribution to the country. The value of the work contributed by volunteers to Non-For-Profit (NFP) institutions in 2006-2007 was estimated to be $14.6 billion (wage equivalent value). And subsequently contribution of NFP institutions to Australia’s GDP was $43 billion (or 4% of GDP), which is doubled the contribution of agriculture industry in the same period [2]. Even during 1999 - 2000, the contribution of NFP (volunteer included) outperformed the mining contribution to GDP [3]. Therefore, by volunteering, you definitely contribute to Australian economy;
  • The second reason is the Australian way of living. In the recent years volunteering becomes increasingly popular in the ‘down under’. The data from ABS shows that in 1995 there were 3.2 million Australian volunteered. This number was doubled in 2010 with more than 36% of Australian did volunteer, which exceeds 6.1 million people. And guess what? The number keeps growing since then. It tells us how volunteering assimilates into a lifestyle in Australia. This also means that there are growing interests to contribute back to the community/ society. Many examples have shown that people who have themselves struggled with social or health issues usually have certain empathy for those in a similar situation and will often wish to help out;
  • The third reason is for the volunteer him/herself. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Volunteering can be seen as a way to express our gratefulness, compassion, and altruism. It is also a fun and easy way to explore our interests and passions, as well as to develop our skills. Volunteer activities also provide you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life [4]

Obviously there are plenty other reasons why people volunteer, such as make new friends, career advancement, etc. Whatever the reason, I really hope that this article will persuade you to volunteer. Always remember this quote from Winston Churchill: “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” So fellas, now I challenge you to do volunteer!!

*Please note that all data mentioned above is for domestic volunteer (volunteer within Australia only).


Garry Blasius was born in Jakarta and currently based in Sydney. A generalist with strong passion in social entrepreneurship, he has worked in various industries from corporate law to management consulting. Throughout his career he has been involved in major projects in Indonesia and Australia.
To find out more visit Garry's Linkedin profile at:
Linkedin profile - Cornelis Garry Blasius


Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.