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Volunteering in Germany : results of the 1999 Representative Survey on Volunteering and Civic Engagement

Publication Date
  • Political Science
  • Social Problems And Services
  • Politikwissenschaft
  • Soziale Probleme Und Sozialdienste
  • Ehrenamt
  • Bundesrepublik Deutschland
  • Bürgerschaftliches Engagement
  • Engagement
  • Befragung
  • Beteiligung
  • Sonstiges Zur Sozialpolitik
  • Sozialwesen
  • Sozialarbeit
  • Sozialpädagogik
  • Sozialplanung
  • Other Fields Of Social Policy
  • Social Work
  • Social Pedagogics
  • Social Planning
  • Descriptive Study
  • Deskriptive Studie
  • Political Science


"This survey provides scientifically researched figures on the willingness to volunteer in Germany. This first nation-wide survey, published in three volumes1, provides a sound foundation for the necessary debate on the further development of volunteering and its political and societal framework. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth commissioned this survey to fill a gap in German social research. 34 per cent of all people in Germany devote their free time to volunteering in associations, initiatives and projects. A further third are actively involved in a club, society or group without actually volunteering. This means that in total, two thirds of the population aged 14 and above are either integrated or actively involved in social groupings. Thus volunteering is much more prevalent in German society than was thought to be the case. Prior to this report, a figure of 18 per cent had been assumed, which was well below the level of voluntary involvement in comparable countries in Europe and America. The survey shows that willingness to volunteer in Germany is high and similar to that in other countries. The level of volunteering varies across different areas of involvement. Sport and physical recreation, activities in schools, nursery schools and the church represent the most attractive fields of activity, while volunteering in social welfare and political engagement are less popular. But it is particularly in these areas that volunteering and civic engagement are needed in our society. The survey also shows that numerous men and women, girls and boys would be willing to take up volunteering if given the right incentive. This is a group of people on which we shall particularly focus in our debate on strengthening the civil society." (excerpt)

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