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Barraket, J, Keast, RL, Newton, C, Walters, K & James, E 2013, Spontaneous volunteering during natural disasters, working paper no. ACPNS 61, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld.


The recent spate of natural disasters across Australia has led to an outpouring of spontaneous volunteering, both formally through nonprofit and government agencies and informally through local community and online networks. Relatively little is understood about the motivations and characteristics of spontaneous volunteers.

The aims of this project were to:

Examine the characteristics and motivations of spontaneous volunteers who respond to a crisis event;

Illuminate the effects of spontaneous volunteering on personal, social and civic networks;

Explicate the conditions under which sustained volunteering and other forms of civic engagement arise from spontaneous volunteering and;

Consider the practical implications of these findings for organisations involved in coordinating volunteers both with and beyond disaster events.

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