Volunteering plays an important role in many areas of social life. It takes place in a wide variety of contexts, be it in professional associations or in the family environment, such as sports, cultural or parents' associations, simply as a form of leisure activity, as an expression of a political conviction or in the form of social commitment. The motives behind volunteering are as varied as the activities involved.
For a long time, there was little information available on the volume and structure of volunteering in Austria. In 2009, the Ministry of Social Affairs published the 1st Volunteer Report, which was published by the NPO Competence Centre (then NPO Institute) in cooperation with a team of authors. Research on volunteering has a long tradition at our university - the first data was collected by o.Univ.Prof. Dr. Christoph Badelt as early as the early 1980s, laying the foundation for further research. As part of a research project, there was another major study on the volume of volunteer work in Austria, written by Eva More-Hollerweger, who has been working on the topic since the late 1990s.
In addition to the social impacts of volunteering, our research at the NPO Competence Centre also focuses on the management of volunteers. In contrast to traditional human resources management, the management of volunteers involves completely different framework conditions that have to be taken into account. Volunteer management plays an increasingly important role for organisations, as traditional forms of recruiting and retaining volunteers are becoming less important. Lifelong commitment in a volunteer organisation is rather the exception today. Volunteers adapt their engagement to their respective phase of life and interests, select the fields of activity accordingly and are more interested in temporary, project-like activities. Voluntary organisations must therefore find opportunities for activities which are in the interest of the volunteers as well as in the interest of their own organisational goals. The result is the emergence of new forms of engagement, such as micro-engagement, corporate volunteering and digital engagement.