Volunteering definitions and principles

We support the definitions and principles of volunteering stipulated by the key organisation Volunteering Australia.

Definition of formal volunteering

Formal volunteering is an activity which takes place through not for profit organisations or projects and is understood to be:

  • of benefit to the community and the volunteer
  • of the volunteer's own free will and without coercion
  • for no financial payment and
  • in designated volunteer positions only

Principles of volunteering


  • benefits the community and the volunteer
  • work is unpaid
  • is always a matter of choice
  • is not compulsorily undertaken to receive pensions or government allowances
  • is a legitimate way in which citizens can participate in the activities of their community
  • is a vehicle for individuals or groups to address human, environmental and social needs
  • is an activity performed in the not for profit sector only
  • is not a substitute for paid work
  • Volunteers do not replace paid workers nor constitute a threat to the job security of paid workers
  • respects the rights, dignity and culture of others.
  • promotes human rights and equality

Page last updated: Friday, 29 November 2019