Estimates show that between 92 and 94 million adults in the EU – i.e. 22 % to 23 % of Europeans aged over 15 – are involved in volunteering, defined as an activity undertaken of a person’s own free will, primarily within a non-governmental organisation for a non-profit cause.
A Eurobarometer survey published in April 2015, revealed that the most common areas for volunteering are charity, humanitarian and development aid (44 %); education, training or sport (40 %), and culture or art (15 %). Their activities are usually aimed at a local community (66 %) or the volunteer’s country as a whole (27 %). Cross-border volunteering remains modest, with only 7 % of activities being aimed at another EU country, and 11 % at other parts of the world.
Even though there has been a general increase in the number of active volunteers and voluntary organisations in the EU over the past ten years, 93 % of respondents indicated that they have never volunteered abroad. The survey also suggests that more than half (54 %) of the young people who had taken part in organised voluntary activities did not incur any expenses, a further 28 % of respondents incurred expenses without receiving any contributions, and one in six respondents (16 %) were compensated for their expenses.