The Changing Face of Social Service Volunteering: A Literature Review

The Changing Face of Social Service Volunteering: …
01 Dec 2001

The former Ministry of Social Policy (now the Ministry of Social Development) undertook this literature review as part of its contribution to the International Year of the Volunteer 2001.

The review focuses solely on volunteering that takes place within voluntary social service organisations . The main focus of the review is on changes over the past two decades since the widespread introduction of contracting for social services. The review also considers how a number of the wider economic, demographic and social changes over the past 50 years (post World War II) have affected the level and nature of volunteering.


• to examine how the introduction of the ‘contract culture’ has influenced volunteering in voluntary social service organisations;
• to identify the changes that have occurred in voluntary social service organisations in terms of the level (number of volunteers) and nature (type of volunteering activities undertaken) of volunteering;
• to examine the possible reasons for – and potential consequences of – any changes in the level and nature of volunteering in the voluntary social service sector; and
• to consider the future role of volunteers within voluntary social service organisations.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018