Although there has been little research into volunteering in Ireland, Volunteer Ireland aims to produce research into volunteering which informs both the Irish public and our own work. A number of research projects into various aspects of volunteering have also been conducted in other countries, primarily in the United States.

Volunteer Ireland uses a research-based tool called Volunteer Impact Assessment to explore the impact of volunteering on Volunteer Involving Organisations.  You can find more information on our Volunteer Impact Assessment page.

Internal research

Impact of COVID-19 on Volunteer Participation in Ireland

According to Ipsos MRBI statistics commissioned by Volunteer Ireland, three-quarters of the population volunteered their time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March this year.

The most popular activities were grocery shopping (40%), befriending someone who was lonely (31%) and collecting prescriptions (29%) Read the report.

Effects of the pandemic on employee community engagement

COVID-19 has generated enormous pressures and new needs in society. It has created new demands on community organisations and businesses who are committed to positive social and environmental impact. It has also raised new challenges and added complexity to the relationships between community organisations and businesses and how they work together.  Volunteer Ireland, in collaboration with Volunteer Canada, undertook a study with 50 Canadian and Irish companies to create a snapshot of the effects of the pandemic on employee community engagement. Read the report.

The Impact of Volunteering on the Health and Well-Being of the VolunteerThe Impact of Volunteering on the Health and Well-Being of the Volunteer

In 2017, Volunteer Ireland conducted research into the impact volunteering has on the health and well-being of volunteers. Combining focus groups with the results of a national survey of volunteers, the report concluded that volunteering has a positive impact on volunteers in a multitude of ways. Read the report.

Rural Volunteerism: Impacting Development and Sustainability

This report documents the extent and impact of volunteerism in rural communities throughout Ireland by drawing on research carried out in NUI Galway and by Volunteer Ireland.  The report highlights the essential role rural volunteers’ play in the sustainability and development of many rural regions, in particular in the areas of sport, care services and rural development. Read the report.

Migrant Participation in Sport Volunteering in Ireland

This report, developed in partnership with Sport Ireland, explores migrant participation in sport volunteering in Ireland. The report looks at the numbers, interests and demographics of migrants that volunteer in sport while exploring the barriers for those that don’t. The findings will allow Volunteer Ireland and Sport Ireland to deliver appropriate interventions to increase the number of migrants volunteering in sport and promote accessibility and inclusivity in this space. Read the report.

Making It Matter: The Impact of Volunteering on Social Inclusion

This Focus Research Report has been developed as one of the intellectual outputs of “Making it Matter” project, implemented under the Erasmus+ programme by 6 partner countries: Croatia, Denmark, Ireland, Slovenia, Belgium and Germany. The main objective of the Focus Research Report is to give an overview of existing EU and national policies and practices that support the inclusion of disadvantaged youth through volunteering. Read the report.

Volunteering in the Arts Toolkit Volunteering in the Arts Toolkit

In 2013, Volunteer Ireland and Voluntary Arts Ireland developed a toolkit for volunteer involving arts organisations. The toolkit aims to provide groups with the practical advice required to help start or improve a volunteer program. View the toolkit.


COVID-19: The impact of volunteering in Ireland during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a huge outpouring of good will from people in communities across Ireland offering to help the most vulnerable members of our communities. The purpose of this paper is to give a snapshot of the contribution of volunteers to achieving the goals of local and national government during Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, and their role in our recovery from the crisis. The paper was developed by Leah Kinsella, Manager of Wicklow Volunteer Centre and PHD candidate. Read the report.

External research

National Youth Council of Ireland: A Report on Young People and VolunteeringNational Youth Council of Ireland: A Report on Young People and Volunteering

In 2011, the National Youth Council of Ireland produced a comprehensive report on young people’s experience of and attitude towards volunteering in Ireland. Read the report.



European Union: Study on Volunteering in the European Union

European Union: Study on Volunteering in the European Union

In 2010, the European Union conducted an EU wide survey on volunteering in the EU. Read the report.

As part of this study, individual country reports were also published. Read Ireland country report.


The Wildlife Trusts: The Health and Wellbeing Impacts of Volunteering with The Wildlife TrustsThe Wildlife Trusts: The Health and Wellbeing Impacts of Volunteering with The Wildlife Trusts

In 2017, The Wildlife Trusts published a report examining the effects of volunteering in nature on people’s health. This report is particularly interesting as it tracks a specific group of volunteers over time. Read the report.

UN: State of the World’s Volunteerism 2018 Report

The 2018 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report presents new evidence on the role of volunteerism in strengthening community resilience. Read the report.


Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index 2019
Now in its ninth year, the CAF World Giving Index 2019 looks at charitable behaviour around the world and shares insights into the nature of giving and trends in global generosity.

The data collected over a five year period up to 2019. It includes results from 125 countries.

Centre for European VolunteeringCEV: Volunteering Infrastructure in Ireland

In 2012, the Centre for European Volunteering published a paper documenting and recording the development of the volunteering infrastructure across Europe with a specific chapter on Ireland. It provides a useful overview of the evolution of volunteering and the supporting infrastructure in Ireland. Read the chapter on Ireland.