the back of a young person with short blonde hair. they are wearing a light blue shirt with Volunteer across their shoulders.

Watch our “What is Volunteering” video to get an overview, or keep scrolling for the written article.

3 people sorting donations from boxes. One is holding a clipboard and pen.


“Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain”

(Volunteering Australia 2015)

It can either be formal or informal.

All volunteering is valuable!


A person holds a cardboard box of clothes and blankets with donate written on the front

Informal Volunteering

Informal volunteering can also be referred to as “helping out” or “giving back”.

It is unstructured and usually based on an individuals motivations.

Think things like:

  • bringing in your neighbours bins
  • Collecting clothes from friends to drop off at a charity shop
  • Making a batch of muffins for the school bake sale
  • Picking up rubbish while going for a walk


A lot of people volunteer in their everyday lives but don’t realise that it can be considered volunteering!

A group of 3 ladies smiling and having a conversation. The one in the middle has a clipboard and the other 2 have brown aprons.
A young man with brown hair and wearing a yellow apron serving a scone to a lady across a counter
A young man wearing high viz long sleeved top and gardening gloves, watering plants outside with a watering can.

Formal Volunteering

Formal volunteering usually takes place in a planned and structured way.

It usually involves an organisation and applications and a set time, place and role.

This online toolkit is about formal volunteering but the information can be used for all volunteering.