A new recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) from Dubbo is optimistic volunteering will continue in the future, even if time-poor people contribute differently from those in the past.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data from 2014 showed volunteering rates had fallen for the first time since 2010.
But Jen Cowley, who received an OAM in the Queen's Birthday 2019 Honours List for service to the community through a range of organisations, questioned if the trend bore out everywhere.
"I think people are still very much inclined to give and to be involved, we just do it in smaller chunks, and we do it with a particular focus now," she said.
Mrs Cowley, president of the Rotary Club of Dubbo Macquarie for the past year and vice president of the National Association for Loss and Grief, said she had found people receptive to appeals for help.
"I've never had trouble getting people to support things I've done or causes I've championed when they know the story," she said.
Mrs Cowley suggested the way people contributed may have changed.
"The days of people volunteering for life are probably gone, but there's still a real sense of community," she said.
"And we're seeing that in the current economic and drought climate, where people still step up and people still want to be part of their community and people still get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping.
"While I think the landscape has changed regarding blanket volunteering, there is still an enormous amount of goodwill and that fills me with great hope."
Volunteering Australia reports there are almost six million formal volunteers and many others who volunteer informally, providing immeasurable support in their communities.
"Australia's volunteers provide a 450 per cent return for every dollar invested," Volunteering Australia CEO Adrienne Picone said last month during National Volunteer Week.
"This is the equivalent of $290 billion in social and economic good."
"This unpaid workforce provides indispensable support to organisations and communities, and deserve recognition for the substantial social, economic and cultural contributions they make at local, national and global levels."
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