Oxfam volunteers Helena Schuer-Meim and Josh Teng Photo: Lara McKinley/OxfamAUS

Our volunteers

  • In 2010–2011 we had 3,138 volunteers contribute 129,676 hours of service
  • In 2012 we had 2,105 volunteers contribute 8,420 hours in our Trailwalker events alone
  • Based on the above figures, our estimated volunteer contribution represents a dollar equivalent of $4.47 million in productivity or 83 full-time positions
  • In 2010 71.5% of our volunteers were aged between 18 and 30 years and in 2013 the same group of volunteers represents just 45% of our volunteers
  • In 2013 55% of our volunteers were aged over 30 years old
  • As part of our corporate volunteering program, 132 employees from Origin Energy, Deloitte, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Goldman Sacks and Partners volunteered 1,819 hours
  • 74% of our volunteers are women and 26.5% come from a non-English speaking background



Volunteers contribute to all areas of our organisation — in our offices, at events, in our groups and state committees, and in our shops and trading warehouse. They help us to raise funds, campaign for change, provide administrative support, stage events and offer their skills, time and experience to help us carry out our work. The types of roles we have on offer throughout the year include:

  • working at events such as the Comedy Gala, National Close the Gap Day and Trailwalker
  • assisting the HR department with improvements to Oxfam Australia’s policies and procedures to ensure the agency meets its compliance obligations
  • help to promote Oxfam Australia’s various campaigning activities on climate change, food security, poverty and Aboriginal health
  • researching information for and writing, editing and proofreading articles for Oxfam News and Update

There are plenty more opportunities and it is impossible to name them all here. Check out our general volunteer interests for more information.

We also host internships at Oxfam Australia. These are taken up by tertiary students who are required to undertake formal volunteering positions to complete their studies. Some previous internship roles have included:

  • Oxfam International Youth Partnerships interns in Sydney
  • Support for our East Asia Regional program as part of the AusAID Australian Leadership Awards Development program

Monash partnership

Our partnership with Monash University continues to create opportunities for students and staff to engage with our work. We continue to foster the annual South Africa Summer Placement Program which helps students explore their future career and academic options by experiencing community development work with some of our South Africa-based partners.

In 2013, 10 Monash students completed placements at Oxfam in South Africa, Refugee Social Services, Lawyers for Human Rights, Project Empower, Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust and Woza Moya.

  • Students at Oxfam’s office in Durban undertook self-directed research projects on youth engagement and health care effectiveness and accompanied staff on field visits to partner organizations.
  • The student placed at Project Empower gained insight into the realities of gender in South Africa and learned from spending time with such a diverse group of women.
  • Students at Woza Moya participated in rural home based care visits to people living with HIV, supported after-school care programs, assisted with early childhood education programs, and helped deliver food parcels and maintain the community garden
  • Students at Lawyers for Human Rights supported caseload workers directly and helped interview refugees and asylum seekers coming to the centre for legal representation
  • Students at Refugee Social Serices assisted with programs run in the large refugee/asylum-seeker population in Durban and KawZulu-Natal.
  • Students at the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust worked with people living with HIV in the respite care centre, supported healthcare workers with their daily activities and worked alongside retail staff of the craft store

Corporate volunteering program

Our corporate partners provide extensive volunteer support to our events, shops and offices sharing their time and skills. In 2012, employees from our corporate partners volunteered 1,400 hours of service. Volunteer opportunities exist across a range of Oxfam activities and include office support roles, skilled volunteering projects, Trailwalker assistance and Oxfam Trading roles in shops and warehouse. Corporate volunteering is defined as any volunteering conducted under the banner of a company.

A great example of corporate volunteering with Oxfam is the Origin Foundation who in 2012 volunteered 934 hours across a range of Oxfam activities. Between 2010-2013 119 Origin employees have given over 800 hours in volunteering time to Oxfam’s Trading Warehouse in Adelaide, this amounts to a total of 114 volunteer days. Origin is also a long-term supporter of Oxfam Trailwalker. Every year over 20 volunteers from Origin help to manage Checkpoint 2 at Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne and assit at other Trailwalker events. On top of this support, Origin staff previously volunteered in our emergency warehouse in Brisbane, conducted a customer service review, helped with transcribing, and assisted in our audio-visual and information technology areas. Origin staff are also involved with a skilled volunteering project in the Oxfam finance department.

Some other examples of vital volunteer support given by corporate partners to Oxfam are Corrs Chambers Westgarth who has given 390 hours of pro bono legal assistance across 2012. Skilled volunteering projects such as this are a great opportunity to create stronger engagement between Oxfam staff and corporate partner staff and help us save money that can be directed towards our work. Motorola staff have given time to help our Oxfam shops selling Unwrapped products around Christmas 2012. Suncorp employees helped during the Trailwalker events to provide support to walkers and assist in pre event preparations.

Our Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne Trailwalker events had volunteers from Vodafone, State Street, Macquarie, KWM, K&L Gates, Deloitte, Bendigo Bank, Origin Foundation, Motorola, Suncorp and Monash University resourcing checkpoints and supporting the events.

Safety support

Oxfam Trailwalker receives valuable financial, in-kind and pro-bono support from a range of loyal sponsors, organisations, businesses and specialist services, who supply everything from logistical and communications support, to food, first aid and voluntary workers. Trailwalker places the highest emphasis on walker safety for our events in Melbourne Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. Oxfam is fortunate to have the support of Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia police and ambulance services; Country fire Authority (Victoria); Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Service (NSW); Department of Environment and Resource Management (Queensland); State Emergency Services; Parks Victoria and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in planning and execution of our Trailwalker events — ensuring safe, enjoyable and ultimately rewarding experience for event participants and volunteers.

Learn about how we recruit, train, recognise and safeguard our volunteers.

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