Information For Statisticians and Statistical Officials
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AN UNDERVALUED RESOURCE
Volunteer work is a sizeable part of the labour force in most countries and makes a significant contribution. Yet most countries lack reliable systems to gauge the extent and character of volunteer work, and what data do exist are not comparable. As a result, volunteer work remains under-valued and its potentials under-realized, leaving volunteers, volunteer managers, policy-makers, government officials, and business leaders without the crucial information they need to effectively manage and support this crucial renewable resource for societal problem solving.
THE ILO MANUAL ON THE MEASUREMENT OF VOLUNTEER WORK
A unique opportunity now exists to establish a permanent system for the collection of data on volunteer work. This opportunity arises from the convergence of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering with the release by the International Labour Organization of the first official ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work, which provides guidance to national statistical agencies on measuring the amount and contribution of volunteering through regular labour force or other household surveys.
Approach and variables
The ILO Manual advises countries to add a short survey module to their existing labour force or other household surveys to collect data that will allow us to answer questions such as these:
- How many people volunteer? What are the demographic characteristics of the volunteers?
- What type of work do volunteers perform?
- How much time do volunteers contribute?
- What is the institutional setting of volunteer work (e.g., nonprofit organizations, business, government, or household)?
- In what fields is volunteer effort focused (e.g., health, education, social services, environmental causes, legal services)?
- How does volunteering in our country compare to that in other countries along all these dimensions?
Several countries have already agreed to adopt this Manual and others are considering doing so. The European Commission unit in charge of the European Year of Volunteering has encouraged adoption of this Manual by European countries as a way to achieve a lasting legacy for this Year. We hope your country will agree to take this step. The European Volunteer Measurement Project has been formed to promote such implementation and to work with statistical agencies on it. For further information, please read the FAQ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.