The report is submitted in response to the request by the General Assembly in its resolution 70/129 that the Secretary-General report at its seventy-third session on the implementation of that resolution, including the plan of action to integrate volunteering into peace and development policies and programmes.
Volunteering is difficult to define and measure in a way that is comparable across borders or cultures. When volunteering has been measured, the focus has largely been on organization-based volunteering, rather than volunteering performed spontaneously and directly between people. Many stakeholders fail to recognize the importance of measuring volunteering, especially irregular volunteering, mainly due to the cost and the difficulties of getting a representative sample.
The State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2018: The Thread that Binds draws on original research across five continents to understand how communities view volunteering. The report aims to help governments and development partners maximize the contribution of volunteerism as a property of resilient communities.
Focus groups and policy discussions for the report were organized in Bolivia, Burundi, China, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Madagascar, Malawi, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Tanzania.
In conditions where policies and legislation successfully create a nurturing and enabling environment for volunteering, people are endowed with stronger protections and incentives to engage in voluntary action. When carefully designed and implemented, volunteer schemes can empower people to participate in their own communities to meet development objectives.
Approximately one billion people are engaging in voluntary action globally. Their activities range from delivering services, preparing and responding to disasters and providing technical assistance such as in mapping and monitoring climate and environmental data.
The growing environmental awareness, often enabled by powerful and cheap new mobile and open technologies, is further triggering new data collection and monitoring efforts by volunteers.