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More volunteers needed during economic downturn


Media Release
For Immediate Release

5 December 2008


More volunteers needed during economic downturn

International Volunteer Day

Volunteers and giving have a huge part to play in the community during times of economic hardship, according to Tangata Whenua, and Community and Voluntary Sector organisations.

Friday, 5 December is International Volunteer Day and is being celebrated throughout New Zealand.

ComVoices – an independent network of 19 Sector organisations – is calling on all New Zealanders to use International Volunteer Day to think about their own volunteering and how they can give a little more to help those in the community who are struggling.

David Henderson, Coordinator of ANGOA says the economic downturn has created an increasing need for volunteers as demand for social services increases.

“Our volunteer workforce in New Zealand sustains social cohesion. In times of economic stress, social services and support become even more important”.

Tim Burns, Executive Director of Volunteering New Zealand says there is something to do for everyone, regardless of their interests.

“The nonprofit sector is made of sporting groups, arts and cultural groups, ethnic associations, residents groups, service clubs, environmental groups, historical societies, professional associations and many advocacy groups. Not to mention the thousands upon thousands of health, welfare and other charities and self-help groups that contribute to our sense of community and sense of self.”

Robyn Scott, Executive Director of Philanthropy New Zealand says more than one million Kiwis volunteer in their communities and through the almost 100,000 organisations that make up the community and voluntary sector.

“A comparative study into the New Zealand Non Profit Sector by United States’ John Hopkins University shows volunteers in New Zealand contribute more to non-profit organisations than in any of the other 40 countries in study,” Robyn says.

The economic value of voluntary groups is also significant. Statistics NZ recently calculated that volunteers worked 270 millions per year and valued this at $3.31 billion or 2.3% of GDP.

Dalton Kelly, Chief Executive of the Cancer Society of New Zealand says few private or public sector organisations could add the same level of value to money that these organisations achieve, nor could they replace the immense skills, knowledge and understanding that voluntary groups have.


For more information on International Volunteering Day visit: www.volunteeringnz.org.nz.

ENDS

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