There is currently a dearth of research on volunteering in Ireland. While Volunteer Ireland has undertaken small scale research in recent times, we do not have the resources to conduct research on a large scale. Nationwide, comprehensive data will allow us to understand the areas where more research is needed to inform practice. For example, knowing whether more volunteering is formal or informal and knowing the ratio of rural to urban volunteers will allow us to direct our resources where they are most required. This type of information can also inform the work of government, particularly in areas such as homelessness and mental health – services currently heavily supported by the community and voluntary sector.
The most recent CSO data comes from a module on volunteering with a focus on subjective well-being which was included in the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) in the three months from July to September 2013 (Q3). Prior to this, the most recent data was a question on volunteering in the 2006 Census.
Volunteer Ireland, along with the network of Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services, have consistently asked the Central Statistics Office to produce more statistics on volunteering. You can read our latest submission advocating for a question on volunteering to be included in the 2022 Census here
In October 2019, the CSO confirmed that there will be a question on volunteering in Census 2022.