Measurement guide out

New Guide and E-Learning Course on Volunteer Work Measurement - now out!

Every day and in every country in the world, millions of volunteers work with communities, organizations, companies, and on their own, to take action on the issues that affect them. But how many people volunteer, and what do they do? How is volunteering linked to improved development outcomes? The answers require data and evidence on the scale, scope, and types of volunteering. 

Join the online course on measurement of volunteer work run by ILO and UNV in September 2021

The new measurement guide not only presents all the knowledge and experience accumulated during the development of the add-on module but also provides survey designers with the latest ILO tools and recommendations to produce statistics on volunteer work in line with current international standards.

In addition, the ILO is offering an e-learning course on measuring volunteering work. The course is designed to guide countries in generating systematic and comparable data on volunteer work via regular supplements to labour-force or other household surveys. The course will take place virtually from 27 September to 5 November 2021. Interested candidates can apply until 30 August 2021.

The course is suitable for statisticians covering work and employment, particularly in countries that are interested in implementing the module in Labour Force Surveys or other surveys in the future.

You can also find other publications on volunteer work, such as:

-        our toolbox of principles tools and practices for measuring volunteering for the 2030 Agenda

-        an anthology of papers on measuring the economic and social contributions of volunteering, on UNV’s Knowledge Portal on Volunteerism.


National statistics offices in all regions of the world have been undertaking efforts to capture the scale and scope of volunteer work in their respective countries. Shortly after new standards on work and labour market statistics were established by the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in 2013, countries began to develop and implement specialized survey tools for that purpose. In many cases, the Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2011 served as inspiration for these tools.



Updated tools and guidance are available now!

Over the years, experience showed that both the labour force survey module on volunteer work recommended in the ILO Manual and the related implementation guidance could be further improved. Therefore, the ILO and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme initiated a joint project to update the existing guidance.

As a result, the newly published Volunteer Work Measurement Guide provides updated guidance on capturing and measuring participation in volunteer work (especially direct and traditional forms of volunteering) across different contexts. Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative tests conducted in partnership with the national statistics offices of Senegal and Ukraine, a new add-on module for labour force surveys was developed. The evidence collected during the testing demonstrated the new module’s ability to capture a wide range of volunteering activities by men and women of diverse backgrounds.



How to incorporate the new add-on module on volunteer work in your surveys?

As volunteer work statistics offer valuable evidence on people's contribution to sustainable development and the well-being of individuals and communities, national statistics offices should incorporate the new add-on module in labour force surveys or other types of surveys.

The survey module developed by the ILO will help us obtain more complete data on the volume of volunteer work in Ukraine and its characteristics. The module’s structure, its content and the questions’ flow were designed very well, taking in account the way in which respondents understand and answer questions.” – national statistics office of Ukraine

To facilitate this process, the measurement guide presents key concepts, data sources and recommended topics for data collection and details the design of the labour force survey add-on module on volunteer work. It also provides detailed information on how to attach the add-on module on volunteer work to a survey, making recommendations for the target population, sampling considerations, respondent types, placement in questionnaires, data collection periods, and staff training. In addition, users can find recommendations on how to derive volunteer work variables from the collected data as well as key indicators and tabulations.



If you have been wanting to measure volunteer work in your country but were unsure how to go about it, this is your chance to get the tools, guidance and information you need.