Volunteering in Not-for-profit Organisations and the Accumulation of Social Capital in South Australia
A survey of volunteering in South Australian not-for-profit organisations suggests that the number of volunteers in these organisations and the hours that they work has risen in recent years, contrary to anecdotal evidence from the not-for-profit sector. The results of the study also tend not to affirm the 'decline in social capital' thesis of Robert Putnam, at least in the context of SA not-for-profit organisations. Three hundred and four organisations were surveyed over three weeks in April 2004. The survey was followed up by interviews with key informants who were asked to comment on issues raised in the survey. Survey results indicate that volunteering in South Australian not-for-profit organisations increased steadily over the period between 2001 and 2003. This was the case for members who join committees as well as those who become general members. Increases in volunteering appear to be partly related to the outsourcing of State and Commonwealth Government services to the not-for profit sector, which has increased the resources available to not-for-profit organisations and the opportunities for volunteer participation.