Categories: News and Resources

Katie Ferro


As we head towards the end of the year, many time poor Australian families will tell you there is no slowing down when it comes to summer sports, dance concerts, school excursions, community activities and more. In fact, once we hit October, time seems to accelerate and before you know it 2020 will be on our doorstep.

This year, we surveyed 1500 mums and dads about when, where and how they spend their time volunteering.

About our mums and dads

The majority of parents and caregivers have two children at 44% (mums) and 49% (dads), the numbers of mums and dads that had three children was relatively even at 20 to 22%. In contrast, 30% of mums had one child, whereas this only applied to 15.5% of dads.

The respondents to the survey were mainly based on the East Coast of Australia with the majority identifying as parents. More dads identified as being married (75%) compared to mums (63%). The number of respondents who identified as being in a de-facto relationship or single was relatively equal for mums and dads. The biggest difference related to those who said they were separated with 13% of mums and only 3% of dads indicating that they qualified in this category.

Not many dads identified as full-time caregivers

More respondent dads worked full time at 49% compared with full time working mums at 28%. Those who identified as self-employed was relatively low for mums and dads at 6.5% and 9% respectively, as well as casual employment at 8.5% (mums) and 6% (dads).

Top sports for volunteering

Swimming and soccer were both top sports in terms of volunteering for mums and dads, with other sports proving popular. Dancing featured higher for mums volunteering, with football appearing as the second most popular sport for dads in terms of volunteer time.

Dads significantly more likely to volunteer as coaches, managers and committee members

One of the most significant findings from the research related to the low representation of mums acting as coaches, managers or committee members of sports organisations.  Only 2% of mums indicated they acted as a coach in comparison to 28% of dads, 10% of mums identified as members of club committees in comparison to 30% of dads and 4% of mums said they were a manager compared to 15% of dads. While both mums and dads said they acted as general volunteers, this applied to 79% of mums in comparison to 40% of dads.

Mums strong in canteen, P&C and fundraising roles

While an equal number of mums and dads said they volunteered for excursions at 14%, mums volunteered more across school related roles including canteen (11%), compared to dads (4.5%), P&C (10%) compared to dads (6%) and fundraising mums (13%) compared to dads (8%).  This may also correlate with the fact that more mums work part time and identify as homemakers, allowing them to volunteer for school related activities within business hours. However, it is interesting to note that dads pulled their weight when it came to canteen duties.

The findings of the research highlight that while both mums and dads devote time to volunteering, a lot of their input may relate to a wide variety of factors including employment, the number of children, their relationship status and their own love of a particular sport or recreation.