Global Volunteering Accelerator

Exploring how to support volunteering infrastructure to accelerate volunteering at a national level


Volunteering is a tool countries can use to make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The Global Volunteering Accelerator explores how we can partner with national governments and peak bodies to strengthen volunteer infrastructure and accelerate volunteerism in their country.

Volunteering infrastructure is made up of the building blocks that support volunteering in any given context and includes policy and legislation, governments and peak bodies, networks and partnerships, research and data, training and resources, technology, and the cultural context.

As part of our commitment to locally led development, through the Accelerator workstream, we partner with national volunteering bodies to identify opportunities for supporting these enabling conditions, working with them to identify their priority areas.

What we're aiming to learn

  • What is the current state of volunteering infrastructure in partner countries?
  • What enabling conditions are needed to accelerate volunteering?
  • Where could the program's support be most valued/valuable?
  • What support do government or peak bodies want from the program, if any?
  • What mechanisms could the program use to support volunteering?

Our approach

The discovery stage commenced in 2021 with an initial focus on ‘working with the willing'. We partnered with countries and peak bodies who expressed an interest in being involved in this early stage and where we had program staff with the capacity to lead this activity. During this stage, we explored how to support government and peak bodies in Asia Archipelago and the role of funding as a support mechanism for volunteering in Mongolia.

In 2023, we built on the learnings and opportunities identified in the initial discovery stage and tested our ideas for how we might co-design partnerships to support volunteering research and networks in Asia Archipelago. We also conducted a research project to better understand the state of volunteering and volunteering infrastructure across the program, which will help us identify where these efforts may be most valued and valuable in the future.

There's a lot to learn between now and 2025 and we can’t reliably predict where these learnings will take us. One possible outcome of this work is the identification of a reliable set of approaches to co-partnering on volunteering activities that could be replicated across the program.

What we know already

  • Government and non-government organisations are interested in partnering with the program to receive support for existing national volunteering priorities and iniatives.
  • Funding can amplify the impact of existing initiatives and there are opportunities to co-fund with other INGOs, however, funding for technology infrastructure can present challenges. 
  • Volunteering research and multi-stakeholder workshops are practical ways the program can support volunteering initiatives.
  • Mechanisms of program support can be replicated and contextualised across different contexts, which enables the sharing of learning and provides resource efficiencies. 
  • Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of partners and program staff could help clarify expectations and affirm commitment.
  • Volunteering can face a range of challenges, including lack of funding, restrictive perceptions, labour force expectations, and a lack of data. 
  • Improving youth volunteering is priority in several countries.

Ideas are guided through rigorous stages of discovery, design and testing.

Learn how we work