Volunteer work plays a key role in the functioning of social services within our communities. Younger volunteers now comprise a major component of the volunteer population. However, little work on the volunteerism of younger people, especially students, has been conducted in an Australian context. The present study investigated the psychological functions that volunteering serves amongst young tertiary students who volunteer and the perception of the functions served by volunteering by those who do not volunteer. A survey of a cohort of Australian university students, comprising both volunteers and non-volunteers, showed that 42.1% of the sampled university students were recent volunteers and that 74.4% had volunteered at some point in the past, thus demonstrating the importance of this cohort for volunteering practices in Australia. For the functions that volunteering serves, the results indicated that both volunteer and non-volunteer students rated the values and understanding functions as significantly more important than any other function. Further, non-volunteers rated the career function as more important than current volunteers. The implications of these results are discussed in terms of strategies that are most effective in engaging younger volunteers
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